Now they're without Marcus Smart and facing No. 5 seed IN, which the Celtics beat 3-1 straight-up IN the regular season (2-2 against the spread). On the flipside of that, they held the Pacers to 74 points, they least they've allowed all season long.
Cory Joseph led the Pacers with 14 points. He also added a game-high seven assists along with five rebounds. IN shot 33 percent from the field, was 6-of-27 from 3-point range and a awful 57 percent from the free throw line. IN will head into Wednesday night with a 4-12 against the spread record in their last 16 road games versus teams with winning records at home.
Game 2 in the best-of-7 series is scheduled for Wednesday, also in Boston.
IN struggled against the Celtics throughout the regular season, losing three of four - including their last two meetings in March. And this team could stand to get more from guys like Gordon Hayward, who only had 10 points or Terry Rozier, who only had five. The Boston Celtics are shooting 35.7 percent from beyond the arc and 81.8 percent from the free throw line.
While the points certainly benefited the Celtics, point guard Kyrie Irving thought Morris offered more than what was represented in the box score.
With the win, the Celtics are now 9-3 in the last 12 meetings between the teams and 12-7 ATS versus the Central Division. Meanwhile, the win was the Celtics' first all season in 10 games when they scored fewer than 100 points.
So, the Pacers are the No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference and are matched up against No. 4 Boston (49-33).
The Celtics lead the best-of-seven series 1-0.
A quick 9-2 run for IN to open up the second forced Stevens into a timeout with 9:08 left and the Pacers leading 29-22.
The Boston Celtics won game one by double digits, and that was with them shooting a brutal 36.4 percent from the field.
"I think what we were doing out there today was good for us", Pacers forward Thaddeus Young said. Since Victor Oladipo went down for the season, the Pacers always seem to have a stretch in the game where nothing falls and scoring becomes almost impossible. It plagued them in the first half, but by the third quarter it was the Pacers who were turning it over. While it's just one game, the Boston Celtics seem to be playing with that pep in their step again, and they're one of the scariest teams in the league when playing to their full potential.