Celtics Will Clamp Down Defensively In First Half Friday

Friday, March 29, 2019 4:56 PM UTC

Friday, Mar. 29, 2019 4:56 PM UTC

The Friday slate may be small, but there is some intense action that has huge playoff implications. One of those games is in Boston tonight in what could very well end up as a first round playoff preview between the Pacers and Celtics.  

 

<p style="text-align:right"><em>Jordan’s NBA Picks: 44-29</em></p><p style="text-align:center"><strong>Indiana (45-30 SU &amp; 36-38 ATS) at Boston (44-31 SU &amp; 35-38 ATS)</strong></p><p style="text-align:center"><strong>Friday, 7:00 PM EST, NBATV</strong></p><p style="text-align:center"><strong>Free NBA Pick: <a href="https://www.sportsbookreview.com/betting-odds/nba-basketball/indiana-pacers-vs-boston-celtics-3569101/odds/" target="_blank">UNDER 1H</a></strong></p><p style="text-align:center"><strong>Best Line Offered: <a href="https://www.sportsbookreview.com/Sportsbook/?v=4426&amp;book=Bookmaker" target="_blank">Bookmaker</a></strong></p><p style="text-align:center">[/]{"component":"oddswidget", "eventId":3569101, "sportsbooksIds":[93,238,180,1602,999991], "LineTypeId":3, "PeriodTypeId":2}[/]</p><h2>Could This Be A Playoff Preview In The Eastern Conference?</h2><p>The Pacers have a one game lead on the Celtics for the fourth seed and the last spot of home court advantage in the first round. Can they do the unthinkable and beat Boston twice over the next week and hold onto that spot, or with Kyrie Irving and company dice up this beleaguered Pacer team?</p><h2><strong>Playoff Implications Galore</strong></h2><p>Not only do the Celtics have a chance to take over the fourth seed in the East with a win on Friday, but these two teams are also currently tied in their head-to-head record. A win on Friday would not only move Boston up a spot in the standings, it would also put immense pressure on the Pacers to keep winning.</p><p>Up until now, the Pacers have done a fantastic job of holding on to their seeding in the East. They can’t fall below 5<sup>th</sup> and if they somehow find a win to win in Boston on Friday, it would put them a full two games ahead of Boston with just six games to go.</p><p>Needless to say, this is <a href="https://www.sportsbookreview.com/betting-odds/nba-basketball/indiana-pacers-vs-boston-celtics-3569101/matchup/" target="_blank">going to be a playoff-style matchup</a>. Both teams and the Boston fanbase know very well what is at stake here, so I expect to see defense glued in for both teams.</p><p>With that in mind and with the looming matchup one week from now in Indianapolis, I could see this one being very physical. A matchup between these two teams usually is pretty physical. With the exception of the Pacers getting waxed by Boston in their last meeting, usually games between these two teams are both very close and pretty low scoring.</p><p>Considering the issues Indiana has faced after Victor Oladipo’s injury, if Boston brings their best defensive effort, they will win this game.</p><p>[/]{"component": "embedHTML", "code": "&lt;blockquote class=\"twitter-tweet\" data-lang=\"en\"&gt;&lt;p lang=\"en\" dir=\"ltr\"&gt;The Pacers are still looking for their first road win in over a month after the offense bogged down and the collapsed under the Thunder's 24-0 run. &lt;a href=\"https://t.co/tOG7rYohr0\"&gt;https://t.co/tOG7rYohr0&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p&gt;— USA TODAY NBA (@usatodaynba) &lt;a href=\"https://twitter.com/usatodaynba/status/1111259142486921216?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw\"&gt;March 28, 2019&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/blockquote&gt;\n&lt;script async src=\"https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js\" charset=\"utf-8\"&gt;&lt;/script&gt;\n"}[/]</p><h2><strong>The Sharp Pick</strong></h2><p>However, the spread is very sharp in this one right now and I’m staying away as of now. However, the totals for both the game and first half are very appealing for an under play.</p><p>For starters, four of the last six times these two teams have faced one another, the combined half time score has been less than 100 points. In a playoff-style matchup where energy and effort are both high earlier in the game, that could lead to some good defense from the Celtics against a road team that could very well be held to less than 50 points at the half and 100 for the game.</p><p>Boston has been great defensively in the first halves of their home games this season, allowing just 104.3 points per 100 possessions. If that and the desire to win this game combine, I think Boston wins a close one and <a href="https://www.sportsbookreview.com/betting-odds/nba-basketball/totals/1st-half/" target="_blank">keeps the score low in the first half</a>.</p><p style="text-align:center"><strong>First Half Score Prediction: Pacers 49 – Celtics 52</strong></p>
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