Boston, MA– The Boston Celtics have become the first team in round one of the NBA playoffs to take a three games to zero lead in their matchup. After 84-74 and 99-91 wins over the Indiana Pacers in the first two games of the series, Boston kept the momentum going with their best post-season performance yet, commanding a stellar victory on Indiana's home court by a score of 104-96. Boston now takes a three games to zero lead into game four which will take place in Indiana tomorrow afternoon, and they will look to sweep the Pacers completely.
Before approaching the potential of a sweep and a date in the Eastern Conference semifinals, let's take a look at how the Celtics played during game three. The score was narrower than expected for the majority of the game action, but that is a testament to Indiana's defense and home court for the game. Without Victor Oladipo, Indiana has emphasized the importance of defense, and it's been working. To an extent. They've kept many Celtics in check, but not enough to actually win the games.
Instead, Kyrie Irving has taken over the series and shown why he is such a valuable star in the NBA and why the Celtics would be hard pressed to prevail without him. Of course, though, Boston has also impressed with their own defense and they have forced Indiana into a number of poor shots. However, Indiana has also been shooting just 30% on wide open shots and Boston has taken advantage of that poor shooting.
Irving, on the other hand, seems to make every shot he takes. Friday night, he went for 19 points in the game and added ten assists as he puts together an absolute highlight reel of a series. In terms of points, though, Jaylen Brown stepped up to lead the way with 23 during the game and has been an unsung hero of the Celtics since December.
After a great deal of regular season underachieving, Boston is finally showing that they can dispatch a lesser opponent like Indiana by embracing an extremely capable rotation. Daniel Theis played three minutes last night, but with Marcus Smart's injury, Boston's rotation has been an eight-man one consisting of Irving, Brown, Aron Baynes, Al Horford, Jayson Tatum, Gordon Hayward, Marcus Morris, and Terry Rozier. So far it's working for Boston, and we will see if it continues this afternoon.