Kyrie Irving dedicates Celtics’ win over Pacers to Marcus Smart

Pacers ready to tip-off playoffs against Celtics

Pacers ready to tip-off playoffs against Celtics

The Pacers led by seven at halftime, but Boston outscored the Pacers 26-8 in the third quarter, taking the lead and comfortably holding onto it for the rest of the afternoon. Marcus Morris and Kyrie Irving led the team with 20 points apiece.

The 74-point total was a full 15 below Indiana's regular-season low of 89, done three times.

Kyrie Irving and the Boston Celtics pulled off a throwback gritty performance against the Indiana Pacers in Game 1 of their first-round matchup, but it surely didn't come without the C's struggling to find a comfort zone without one of its key starters in Marcus Smart. The Indiana Pacers are averaging 74 points on 33.3 percent shooting and allowing 84 points on 36.4 percent shooting. Much of the ugliness of the game was a credit to the Pacers, who can make this series competitive only by making it as ugly as possible.

According to ESPN Stats & Information, the Pacers shot 13-for-20 from the field (and 3-for-7 from 3-point range) on uncontested shots in the first half.

Sour first half. Sweet second half.

When Bogdanovic was asked about the incident following Indiana's practice on Monday (Brad Stevens and the Celtics took the day off), he downplayed the incident as nothing more than what typically happens in the heat of a playoff battle.

- Celtics flip the game in the third quarter.

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However the fourth-seeded Celtics had too much firepower for the fifth-ranked Pacers on their way to a deserved victory. McCollum missed 10 games down the stretch with a left knee strain and had only played in two games since returning.

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The Sixers struggles from the first game won't just disappear, and any mistakes made by Simmons will likely lead to more boos. Jimmy Butler was the only player that actually had a good game, while the rest of the Sixers' stars shrunk in the spotlight.

One area they'll surely focus on is finding ways for Bojan Bogdanovic to get open looks.

"We handled them pretty well in the first half, so it was their turn to make adjustments", said Darren Collison.

In total, IN scored just 29 combined IN the third and fourth quarters, and though the defense was able to hold the Celtics IN check, it wasn't enough to overcome the prolonged offensive draught IN the second half. They use their length very well. So we've just got to do the right things.

While you can totally win games with defense, I'd like to see Boston hit some shots in Game 2.

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.

While Boston's task for at least the next week will be focusing on and trying to take advantage of Indiana's weak spots, what the Celtics need to be doing - at least to have the deep playoff run they believe they are capable of - is shoring up their own.

Stevens said he could tell Morris was probably going to have a good game, based on the team's two most recent practices.

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