Celtics ride big third quarter to top Pacers in Game 1

Celtics ride big third quarter to top Pacers in Game 1

In the second, the Pacers offense woke up a little and managed to give IN a seven-point lead going into halftime, 45-38.

"I think that experience, firsthand, is always the best teacher", Irving said. The game was a complete testament to the ways in which these teams have been coached as Nate McMillan and Brad Stevens both emphasize a defense-first coaching approach.

"They got the momentum and never let that go".

Kyrie Irving was unsurprisingly tied for the team's leading scorer with 20 points to match Marcus Morris' impressive effort off the bench.

Joseph finished with 14 points and Bojan Bogdanovic 12 for IN, which shot 33.3 percent for the game overall. IN shot 33 percent from the field, was 6-of-27 from 3-point range and a terrible 57 percent from the free throw line.

While the Raptors and Sixers failed to hold on to their home court advantage on Saturday, the Boston Celtics opened the 2109 NBA Playoffs in triumph at TD Garden. That the Celtics were able to only underscores how abominable the Pacers were in the second half, particularly in the third quarter. The 29 points that IN scored IN the second half were its worst of the season.

"When we're in the trenches like that, just continue to get stops".

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In Indiana's most recent two losses to the Celtics they fell 114-112 and 117-97 more recently on April 5th.

Boston finished the game shooting 36.7 percent from the field, with 20 turnovers.

The sellout crowd was amped-up for playoff basketball from tip-off, with each of Boston's first three baskets receiving fervent cheers. If you look at the shots we missed, they were good shots. Barring some extremely unforeseen events, once the Celtics make it past IN, they will face the Milwaukee Bucks, who have the NBA's best record, best point differential and, most importantly, Giannis Antetokounmpo, the league's best and most valuable player. In truth, though, the Pacers' issues were as much their own doing as anything the Celtics did.

Stevens went with Jaylen Brown in the starting lineup in place of Marcus Smart, who is out with a torn left oblique.

In his first playoff game as a Celtic, Irving became just third player in franchise history to have 20-plus points, five-plus assists and five-plus rebounds in his postseason debut with the team.

"They have incredible defenders on their team", Irving said. I love getting a lot of points in a relatively low-scoring game as points are at a premium.