Boston Celtics vs Indiana Pacers Picks and Predictions May 23rd 2024

Boston Celtics vs Indiana Pacers NBA Thu, May 23, 20:00 pm.
Boston Celtics
ML: -400
Indiana Pacers
ML: 310

Pacers Determined to Clean Up Play Against Celtics in Game 2

The Indiana Pacers are gearing up for a crucial Game 2 against the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference finals. After a nail-biting overtime loss in Game 1, the Pacers are determined to reduce turnovers and fine-tune their strategy to even the series. This game is pivotal, and the Pacers are ready to bring their A-game.

Turnovers: The Key Issue

The Turnover Problem

In their 133-128 overtime loss in Game 1, turnovers were a significant issue for the Pacers. They committed 22 turnovers, leading to 32 points for the Celtics. One of the most critical turnovers occurred with 8.5 seconds left in the fourth quarter when Pascal Siakam mishandled an inbounds pass, allowing Jaylen Brown to tie the game with a three-pointer, forcing overtime. Reducing these costly errors is essential for the Pacers to turn the series around.

Aaron Nesmith and Myles Turner were responsible for nine of the Pacers’ turnovers, while Tyrese Haliburton had three, including two in crucial moments. Haliburton acknowledged that many of the turnovers were self-inflicted rather than forced by the Celtics’ defense, highlighting the need for better focus and decision-making. “We just made some bad decisions out there,” Haliburton said. “It’s on us to clean it up and play smarter.”

Player Accountability

The Pacers players are taking responsibility for their mistakes. Haliburton, Nesmith, and Turner are reviewing game footage, identifying their errors, and working on how to avoid them in Game 2. It’s all about accountability and making the right plays when it matters most.

Pacers’ Resolve

Learning and Adapting

Despite the turnovers, Pacers coach Rick Carlisle praised his team’s resilience. “We had a lot of turnovers that would be hard to explain, but this is the conference finals in the NBA playoffs and these things happen,” Carlisle said. “Our guys continued to play, continued to fight, and found a way to get a three-point cushion and the ball. So at that point, we just gotta finish it off.” The Pacers know they can compete with the Celtics; they just need to tighten up their game.

The Pacers are known for their ability to learn from their mistakes and adapt quickly. They’re not letting one game define them. Instead, they’re using it as a learning experience to come back stronger. “We know what we did wrong, and we know what we need to do right,” said Carlisle. “It’s all about making those adjustments and coming out with the right mindset.”

Boston Celtics’ Consistency

Key Performances

The Celtics have won Game 1 in each of their three playoff series this year but have struggled in Game 2 at home. This trend offers the Pacers a potential opening. Jayson Tatum, who scored 36 points in Game 1, emphasized the importance of maintaining focus and not relaxing after a close win. “We can’t let our guard down,” Tatum said. “Every game in the playoffs is a battle, and we have to be ready.”

In addition to Tatum’s 36 points, the Celtics’ starters all scored at least 15 points in Game 1. Jrue Holiday delivered a season-high 28 points along with eight assists, seven rebounds, and three steals. For the Pacers, Haliburton led with 25 points, followed by Siakam with 24 and Turner with 23, who capitalized on the absence of Boston’s starting center, Kristaps Porzingis. The stars on both sides are shining, setting up for an epic series.

Celtics’ Depth

The Celtics’ depth was on full display in Game 1, with contributions from across the lineup. This balanced attack makes them a formidable opponent. They don’t rely on just one or two players to carry the load, which makes them harder to defend against. The Pacers will need to be sharp on both ends of the floor to counteract this depth.

Injury Updates

Kristaps Porzingis

The Celtics have been without Porzingis for the past seven games due to a calf strain. His potential return for Game 4 could significantly impact the series. Porzingis provides a big presence in the paint and can stretch the floor with his shooting. His return would add another layer to the Celtics’ already potent lineup.

Pascal Siakam

Siakam’s handling error in Game 1 underscores the need for him to step up and maintain focus in critical moments. He’s a key player for the Pacers, and they need him to be at his best to have a shot at winning this series. “I made a mistake, and it cost us,” Siakam said. “But I’m ready to come back stronger and help my team get the win.”

Strategic Adjustments for Game 2

Improving Ball Handling

The Pacers are determined to clean up their play, focusing on reducing turnovers and improving their execution under pressure. “They’re a great defensive team…but I just felt like more of [the turnovers] were probably on us than them forcing them,” Haliburton said. The Pacers aim to revert to their typically strong ball-handling performance seen throughout the playoffs.

The Pacers know they need to take better care of the ball. They’re working on drills to improve their ball handling and decision-making under pressure. “We have to be smarter with our passes and make sure we’re not giving them easy points,” Haliburton emphasized.

Defensive Adjustments

On the defensive side, the Pacers are looking to tighten up their coverage and make it harder for the Celtics to find open shots. They’re focusing on closing out on shooters and making sure they don’t give up easy baskets in transition. “We have to play tough, disciplined defense,” Carlisle said. “That’s going to be key for us.”

Boston’s Strategy

Maintaining Focus

The Celtics are focusing on maintaining their intensity and avoiding the complacency that has cost them in previous Game 2s. Tatum’s comments reflect a commitment to playing with the same urgency and precision that secured their Game 1 victory. “We have to play like every game is Game 7,” Tatum said. “No let-ups, no excuses.”

The Celtics know they can’t afford to get comfortable. They’ve been in this position before and understand the importance of maintaining their focus. They’re looking to come out with the same energy and execution that won them Game 1.

Exploiting Mismatches

The Celtics will also look to exploit any mismatches they can find. With Porzingis out, they’ve had to adjust, but they’ve done so effectively. They’ll be looking to continue that trend and find ways to create scoring opportunities against the Pacers’ defense.

Expectations and Outlook

Pacers’ Outlook

With the series moving to Indianapolis for Games 3 and 4, both teams are looking to gain an edge in Game 2. The Pacers’ ability to limit turnovers and execute their game plan will be crucial, while the Celtics aim to continue their strong start and maintain their defensive pressure.

The Pacers know they can compete with the Celtics. They showed that in Game 1. Now, it’s about cleaning up the mistakes and playing smarter. If they can do that, they have a real shot at evening the series and taking control when the games shift to their home court.

Celtics’ Outlook

The Celtics want to keep the momentum going. They’ve had issues in Game 2s before, but they’re determined to change that narrative. By staying focused and playing their brand of basketball, they aim to take a commanding lead in the series.


The Eastern Conference finals between the Indiana Pacers and Boston Celtics are shaping up to be a fiercely competitive series. The Pacers’ ability to reduce turnovers and execute their game plan will be key to their success, while the Celtics must maintain their defensive intensity and avoid complacency. As the series progresses, both teams will need to make strategic adjustments to gain the upper hand.

This battle is far from over, and with both teams eager to prove themselves, fans are in for a treat. Buckle up, because this series is about to get even more exciting!

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