It’s a huge game at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana, as the Boston Celtics visit the Indiana Pacers this Friday night. These two teams are tied at the 4th spot of the Eastern Conference with just two games left to be played after tonight’s clash. The Celtics lead the series 2-1 with a couple of wins at TD Garden, but they’ve lost the previous matchup in Indianapolis 102-101, and another loss could be fatal. NBA: Friday, April 5, 2019, Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, Indiana, 8:00 PM ET
The Celtics are looking for their third straight win to stay solo at the No. 4 seed
The Boston Celtics (47-32; 36-41-2 ATS) are coming off back-to-back wins over Miami, beating the Heat 110-105 at home and 112-102 on the road. The Celtics had a difficult job in Florida, pulling away in the final minutes of the game to secure a very important victory. Gordon Hayward put on a strong performance off the bench, tallying 25 points, eight rebounds, and five assists, while Kyrie Irving added 23 points and four dimes. The Celtics have won four of their last five games overall, and if they defeat Indiana tonight, they will need one more win to clinch the No. 4 seed in the East. Boston will host Orlando and visit Washington in its last two games of the regular season.
Kyrie Irving is leading the way for the Celtics this season, averaging 23.9 points and 7.0 assists per contest. Jayson Tatum is adding 15.9 points per game, while Al Horford is posting 13.6 points, 6.8 boards, and 4.2 dishes per outing. Gordon Hayward is averaging 13.4 points and 5.6 rebounds over his last ten appearances. The Celtics are scoring 112.2 points per 100 possessions (10th in the league), making 46.4% of their field goals (14th) and 36.6% of their 3-pointers (6th). They are allowing 107.9 points per 100 possessions (7th in the league) on 44.9% shooting from the field (4th) and 34.2% from beyond the 3-point line (8th).
The Pacers need their defense at its best tonight
The Indiana Pacers (47-32; 39-39-1 ATS) are coming off back-to-back victories over Detroit, defeating the Pistons 111-102 at home and 108-89 on the road. The Pacers put on a strong defensive job in Detroit, limiting the Pistons on 38.8% shooting from the field while forcing 20 turnovers. Indiana hit 46.7% of its field goals, making 31 assists and 11 turnovers. Thaddeus Young had 21 points, eight rebounds, and four assists, while Bojan Bogdanovic and Myles Turner added 17 points each. After the clash with the Celtics, the Pacers will welcome Brooklyn and visit Atlanta in their season finale.
Without injured Victor Oladipo, who’s out for the season, the Pacers are winning games on the back of their tough defense. Indiana is allowing 106.1 points per 100 possessions (3rd in the league) on 45.0% shooting from the field (6th) and 35.5% from beyond the arc (15th), recording 8.9 steals (2nd) and forcing 16.0 turnovers (also 2nd). On the other side, the Pacers are scoring 110.0 points per 100 possessions (17th) on 47.6% shooting from the field (4th) and 37.3% from beyond the arc (5th). Bojan Bogdanovic is leading his team with 18.2 points on 50.0% shooting from the field per contest; Domantas Sabonis is averaging 14.1 points and 9.3 rebounds per game, while Myles Turner is posting 13.4 points and 7.2 rebounds per outing.
- 3-7 SU in the last ten games overall
- 3-7 in the last ten meetings with Boston
- 4-1 SU in the last five outings
- 4-1 in the last five road encounters with Indiana
The Celtics are listed as 1.5-point favorites, so I won’t bother with the spread. Two of the last six head-to-head duels between Boston and Indiana were decided by a point, while two of the last six H2H meetings were decided by two points. Both teams are in a must-win situation, looking for the home-court advantage in their first-round playoff matchup, so we could easily see another thrilling game. The Celtics will have a tall task at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, but I think they are a better team than Indiana, so I’m taking them to win this game straight up.
Betting Pick: Boston Celtics (-120)