Pacers reporter Mike Wells of the Indy Star was asked which team the Pacers should avoid in the 1st round of the playoffs?
I still say it’s Boston over any other team the Pacers could face in the first round.
The Celtics are 2-0 against the Pacers this season and you can never shortchange any team that’s coached by Doc Rivers and has Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, both future Hall of Famers, on its roster. They’re the team nobody wants to face in the playoffs.
The Celtics 83-81 win last week in Indiana left a scar on the Pacers. I’m not saying it would be easy, but I would pick Boston in 6 (or 7) over Indiana.
This is a common theme. Last week, 5 bloggers named Boston as the lower seed most likely to pull off a Round 1 upset:
Arnovitz: I’m pretty sure we’ll see “chalk” prevail in the Eastern Conference bracket this spring, but the Celtics have a history of siccing their defense on unsuspecting playoff opponents, so they’ve got a puncher’s chance. I can’t get on board with the Nets because they couldn’t defend a blanket fort.
Cavan: Boston. They’ve sputtered a bit lately, but the Celtics’ combination of veteran moxie and cleverly bolstered depth makes them a first-round nightmare for just about anyone. The tempered playoff pace suits the C’s perfectly, as does any whiff of Kevin Garnett farewell magic. Basically, I’m looking at a Celtics upset as a given.
Harris: Boston. Rajon Rondo’s out, Leandro Barbosa’s gone and the team struggles offensively, but this club finds a way to surprise us every season. Much like Chicago, if the C’s draw Miami or Indiana, I don’t see any upset happening. However, a Paul Pierce series-clinching jumper from the left elbow at Madison Square Garden sounds highly plausible.
McHale: Boston. Maybe I’m a sucker who’s feeling a little too much nostalgia, but I can’t help but feel like Garnett and Pierce have one more strong playoff run left in them.
Wade: Boston. Pierce doesn’t always have it, but at his apex, he can still be the best offensive player in a series against every East team save for Miami or New York. And with Garnett nearing the end of his career, nobody should be shocked if he leads a short-term charge to push this defense toward its former heights.
There’s a good chance the Celtics will end up as a top 4 seed. They’re even with Chicago (5/6), 2.5 games behind 4th seeded Brooklyn, and 4.5 games behind the ailing Knicks.