With an Indiana Pacers In-Season Tournament Quarterfinals game scheduled against the Boston Celtics, many eyes will be on Rick Carlisle's men. Ahead of the Pacers-Celtics game, we'll be making our Pacers In-Season Tournament Quarterfinals predictions.
The Pacers are led by star guard Tyrese Haliburton, who is having a phenomenal season. Haliburton is averaging 27 points per game, along with 11.8 assists. The 23-year-old guard is also shooting 51.9 percent from the field and 44.7 percent from three. Haliburton has established himself as one of the best point guards in the NBA with his play this season. He has always been a great playmaker, but he has become an elite scorer this season, leading Indiana to become one of the best offensive teams in the league.
The Pacers are 10-8 this season, which has them in sixth place in the East. Sure enough, however, their Quarterfinals matchup in the In-Season Tournament won't be easy as they take on the number one seed Boston Celtics.
Boston is 15-4 and has been dominant after a tremendous offseason. The Celtics acquired star guard Jrue Holiday and star center Kristaps Porzingis to pair with Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. They have a core of four star players and quality role players in Derrick White and Al Horford.
This will be a tough matchup for Indiana, but it is a single-elimination game, which means anything can happen. With that said, let's move on to our Pacers In-Season Tournament Quarterfinals predictions.
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Tyrese Haliburton has a 30-10 game
Haliburton has been playing at a high level this season, consistently putting up high numbers in the points and assists category. He has taken a jump with his 3-point shooting, making 3.9 per game, up from 2.9 last season. He has also improved his shooting from 40 percent to almost 45 percent from distance.
While the Celtics have elite defenders to throw at him with Holiday, White, and Brown, it will be difficult to stop Haliburton. He can score at every level; if a defense sends help, he will find his open teammates. Haliburton is questionable with an illness that sidelined him against the Miami Heat, so his status will be important to monitor ahead of this matchup.
With Haliburton's elite scoring and playmaking, he should have a dominant effort in the game against Boston if he suits up.
Myles Turner has three-plus blocks
Myles Turner has long been one of the best rim protectors in the league. Turner has continued that success this season, with 2.1 blocks per game. He is great at contesting shots at the rim, making it tough for teams to drive to the basket.
Boston will usually counter this by going in their potent five-out offense where everyone is a threat from three. With Porzingis being an elite shooter at center, it can take Turner away from the basket. However, Porzingis is out, likely moving Al Horford into the starting lineup. Horford is still an effective shooter, but not at the same level as Porzingis.
While Boston may roll out a five-out offense, Turner is a difference-maker and will find a way to put his stamp on the game on the defensive end of the floor.
Pacers get upset win over Celtics
Although Indiana doesn't have playoff experience like Boston, they have a shot to win this game. The In-Season Tournament is a new experience for every team in the league and will have a playoff-like atmosphere.
Earlier this season, the Celtics beat the Pacers 155-104. While this points to the Celtics having a significant edge, Haliburton didn't play in this game. He is playing at an MVP level right now, and if he's in the lineup for this game, the Pacers could upset the Celtics and advance in the In-Season Tournament.