After 48 minutes of back and forth playoff basketball, the Boston Celtics were able to outlast the Indiana Pacers in an exciting game two. With the win, the Celtics held their home court advantage and take a two games to nothing series lead heading to Indianapolis.
On the back of a monster performance from Kyrie Irving, who erupted for 37 points, the Celtics showed their ability to grind out a win with an exceptional defensive effort on a night where the offense was relatively quiet outside of Irving. Jayson Tatum had a big night with 26 points but no other Celtic outside of Gordon Hayward (13) scored more than 10 points.
Celtics NBA Finals Chances; Latest Playoff Odds & Outlook
Heading into game two of the first round NBA Playoff series, the Boston Celtics, according to FiveThirtyEight’s CARMELO Projections, had a 4% chance to make the NBA Finals while having a less than 1% chance to win the NBA Finals.
However, after their exciting back and forth affair with the Indiana Pacers, the Celtics chances moved up to 5% to make the finals with a 1% chance to bring home the title.
Celtics NBA Playoff Outlook
After holding home court advantage during the start to their series against the Pacers, the Celtics sit just two games away from advancing to play the winner of the Milwaukee Bucks and Detroit Pistons series. With Milwaukee almost certain to continue steamrolling the inferior Pistons, a second-round matchup against the game-changing Giannis Antentekuompo seems like a near certainty.
Should the Celtics somehow get past the Bucks, they would likely face the winner of a Toronto and Philadelphia second-round matchup in the Eastern Conference Finals. However, it is worth noting that both the Raptors and 76ers dropped a home game and now head into the remainder of their series without homecourt advantage. Keep an eye on the Brooklyn Nets to make a possible upset run on the back of a red-hot Deangelo Russell.
From there, the Celtics would almost certainly run into the Western Conference buzzsaw, the Golden State Warriors. Even without DeMarcus Cousins in the lineup for the remainder of the playoffs, the Warriors are still, by far, the best team in the NBA and pose an incredible mismatch for any team in a seven-game series. Despite dropping a home game early to the gritty Clippers, the Warriors should be more than able to handle both the Clippers and any other team they happen to run into from the west.
While it is an incredibly difficult path to an NBA title for the Boston Celtics, coming into the season they were considered a frontrunner in the East and have a team that matches up fairly well with the Golden State Warriors – and their “death lineup” in particular. Horford is nimble enough to hang with Draymond while the Celtics can deploy multiple variations of Kyrie + Horford + Any three of their talented wing players.