The Boston Celtics became very familiar with the Indiana Pacers over the course of the regular season, and they'll meet once again in the 2024 Eastern Conference Finals.

Heading into this semifinal matchup, the two paths taken have differed. The C's, who own the No. 1 overall seed, won both of their playoff series with relative ease, exacting revenge on the Miami Heat in five games and then disposing of the Cleveland Cavaliers in five games. This is the Celtics' fourth appearance in the Eastern Conference Finals in five seasons.

On the other hand, the sixth-seeded Pacers fought hard to make their first Eastern Conference Finals appearance in 10 years. They defeated the Milwaukee Bucks in six games and then upset the New York Knicks in a tough, seven-game series.

During the 2023-24 campaign, the Celtics prevailed 3-2 in the regular season series. Yet, the Pacers were one of just four teams to defeat the C's twice, with the other three squads currently out of the running for an NBA championship.

Before Game 1 tips off in Beantown on Tuesday night, let's look at three bold Celtics predictions for their Eastern Conference Finals showdown with the Pacers.

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The single-game, 3-point postseason record will be tied or broken in this series by the Celtics (or Pacers)

Arguably the most important part of the modern NBA is the 3-point shot. And on the whole, the Celtics and Pacers shoot it well from beyond the arc.

Boston attempted the most 3-pointers per game in the regular season and that was one reason why it boasted the top offensive rating (123.2) in the league. The Pacers didn't attempt as many triples, but they were right behind the Green Team with the No. 2 offensive rating (121).

This postseason, both franchises have utilized the long ball effectively. The Celtics are shooting 37.7% from deep and the Pacers own an even better conversion rate of 38.1%. What's more, both the Celtics and Pacers had historic 3-point shooting performances this playoffs.

In the Celtics' first game of the 2024 postseason, they cashed 22 triples (tying a franchise record) en route to a 114-94 win over the Heat. Ironically, they then allowed Miami to set a postseason franchise record of 23 made 3-pointers in Game 2.

As for the Pacers, they broke a franchise playoff record as well by making 22 triples in a Game 4 win against the Milwaukee Bucks. Additionally, in a pivotal Game 7 against the Knicks at Madison Square Garden, Indiana shot an insane 67.1% from the field, which was enough for another NBA playoff record.

Simply put, the Celtics and Pacers can dazzle on offense while also having occasional defensive lapses on the perimeter. Therefore, it wouldn't be a shock to see one of them tie or break the single-game playoff record for 3-pointers. The Bucks set the standard with 25 triples last postseason, but that record is not built to last in today's NBA.

The Celtics let up a career-high to Aaron Nesmith

Forward Aaron Nesmith isn't a household name in the Association, yet Celtics fans should certainly remember him.

The Celtics selected the 24-year-old with the 14th overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. Unfortunately, Nesmith never really found his footing in Boston, averaging just 11 minutes per game in his sophomore season.

In the summer of 2022, the C's ended up packaging Nesmith for 2023 Sixth Man of the Year Malcolm Brogdon. This deal was seen as an absolute steal for Boston, and the former Celtic didn't forget the sting of being traded, per Celtics on CLNS:

In Indy, Nesmith has thrived. He practically set career-highs across the board this regular season when he averaged 12.2 points per game while shooting 49.6% from the field and 41.9% from 3-point land.

Some of his best outings came against the Celtics too, as he tied a career-high with 26 points during a 129-124 loss to his former team in late January.

This wasn't a fluke either. During the Pacers' Game 7 victory over the Knicks, he went a perfect 8-for-8 from the field and contributed a playoff career-high 19 points. Given all these impressive numbers and Nesmith's disdain for Boston, he could set a new personal best in the Eastern Conference Finals.

The Celtics will win the series, but it'll be their biggest challenge yet

Boston Celtics center Al Horford (42) makes a three point basket against the Cleveland Cavaliers in the fourth quarter during game five of the second round for the 2024 NBA playoffs at TD Garden.
David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

On their way to the third round of the playoffs, the Celtics have occasionally been challenged, but not truly tested. The Heat and Cavs both had major injuries in their series against Boston and although Celtics center Kristaps Porzingis has been out for multiple weeks, they still have plenty of talent without him.

With that being said, Boston didn't mess around in the opening series of the playoffs, which is vastly different from past postseasons. Last year, the Celtics went to six games with the inferior Atlanta Hawks and were pushed to seven games by the Philadelphia 76ers. Boston obviously prevailed in both of those series, yet they shouldn't have lasted for that long.

In 2024, the Celtics dealt with weaker competition in five games. Thanks to stars Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown and a stellar supporting cast, the C's have been able to rest since last Wednesday.

This time off could be beneficial against the Pacers, who'll only have one full day of rest before Game 1 on Tuesday evening. However, Indiana should still be the Celtics' toughest assignment yet this postseason.

Led by star point guard Tyrese Haliburton, the Pacers live up to their name with a fast-paced offense that rarely hits the brakes. They connect on open 3-pointers, have shooters throughout their lineup, and feature one of the deepest rosters in the league.

Furthermore, the Pacers have seven players who've averaged over 10 points per outing in the playoffs and they're much healthier than Boston's previous opponents.

In their last five appearances in the Eastern Conference Finals, the C's are a disappointing 1-4. Indiana's speedy offense could also wear down a short-handed Celtics squad that's hoping to see Porzingis return in Game 3, at the earliest.

Despite these concerns, the Celtics remain the team to beat in the East and should win this series in six to seven games. Tatum and Brown both averaged over 28 points per game against the Pacers during the regular season and they're a great answer for Indiana's star pairing of Haliburton and forward Pascal Siakim.

If guards Jrue Holiday and Derrick White can defend and shoot at the level they have for most of the season, they'll be two more potent weapons for the Green Team.

No matter what though, this won't be a breeze for the C's. The Pacers are a hungry franchise eager for their first taste of playoff success in a decade, and they've played Boston better than most of the league. While much of the NBA world already has, the Celtics can't afford to underestimate Indiana. They'll have to approach this series in the same focused, business-like manner they had versus the Heat and Cavs.