Celtics take 2-0 series lead in ECF

Written by: William Petersen

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After overtime was needed to decide game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals the Boston Celtics hammered the Indiana Pacers 126-110 after Jaylen Brown put on a masterclass of a performance. Brown matched his playoff career high with 40 points on 14-27 shooting to help push Boston to a 2-0 series lead Thursday night. Jaylen Brown came to play early after scoring 24 points in the first half, torching the Pacers defense for nearly any shot he wanted, contributing to Boston’s 54 points in the paint. Indiana will be relieved to be heading back home especially after star point guard Tyrese Haliburton left the game with what seemed to be a leg injury. This is now the major storyline for the rest of this series due to Halliburton's floor general style of play, facilitating the Pacers offense on nearly every possession. If Haliburton is out for game 3, I would have no problem taking the Celtics on any sort of double digit spread and would not be surprised to see the Pacers on the brink of elimination come game 4, especially if Jaylen Brown continues to shoot the ball this efficiently.

Indiana will be looking to try to salvage this series at home after possibly blowing their only chance in this series after losing in overtime in game 1. The Pacers have had a Cinderella type run in this year's playoffs after finishing the regular season with the sixth seed. They have fully embraced their own brand of basketball thanks to Tyrese Haliburton, who finished with 10 points and 8 assists before leaving in the third quarter, and Pascal Siakam who finished with 28 points in an effort of trying to keep the Pacers afloat after Haliburton left the game. Myles Turner had a tough night, finishing with only 8 points and 4 rebounds in a game that Indiana needed him to help dictate via the glass. The Pacers had a hard time handling Jaylen Brown’s athleticism and were broken down defensively in the second half after only trailing at halftime by six points. Pacers fans are praying that Haliburton does not have a serious injury and can hopefully finish this series but if Haliburton misses time, Indiana could find themselves on vacation here soon. The one brightside for the Pacers is that only 28 teams have gone down 0-2 in a best-of-7 playoff series and came back to win, the Pacers did that last round against the New York Knicks.

After almost losing home court advantage in game 1, the Celtics found a way to grind out an overtime win and bring that momentum into game 2. Jaylen Brown’s 40 point performance was the highlight of a Celtics performance that was well rounded on the offensive end, with four starters scoring in double digits. Jayson Tatum continues to struggle shooting the ball, going 9/20 tonight, but did manage to make the most of his attempt by adding 23 points, 6 rebounds, and 5 assists. Derrick White in the meantime continues to excel this playoffs adding another efficient performance, 23 points on 8/15 shooting and 4/8 from three. Boston only out rebounded Indiana 40-37 and barely shot better from the field but Jaylen Brown’s dominating first and second halves proved too much to an inexperienced Pacers squad that was missing their leader and best player. Boston looks determined to get to the NBA Finals and I would not be surprised to see them win game 3 convincingly en route to a sweep and their second Finals berth in three seasons.