The Eastern Conference Finals is here. Can the upstart Indiana Pacers shock the world against the top-seeded Boston Celtics?

Catch the game this Wednesday, May 22nd, at 8:00 AM, Manila time.

AWAY: Indiana Pacers (0-0)

Projected starting five:

  • Tyrese Haliburton
  • Andrew Nembhard
  • Aaron Nesmith
  • Pascal Siakam
  • Myles Turner

Though clear underdogs, the sixth-seeded Pacers will come in with confidence. They just outlasted the New York Knicks in a seven-game war after going down 0-2 to start the series. 

Then again, while the Pacers had a close season series loss vs. Boston this year, 3-2, the numbers were more one-sided. They averaged 116.8 points per game but still clocked in at -12.2 in point differential, which rings true to the team’s offensively inclined approach.

So, as it has been all year, Indy’s best defense is their offense, and they have a puncher’s chance in that regard. 

There are concerns. Matchup scoring leader Ben Mathurin is out for the season; All-Star Tyrese Haliburton put up 15.8 points (-4.3 from his season avg) and only shot 41.1% from the floor; and midseason acquisition Pascal Siakam has only played one game vs. the Celtics as a Pacer, where he scored 23 points in a 129-124 loss.

As such, they have plenty of room for improvement. Hopefully, stretch, two-way center Myles Turner, and pesky guards TJ McConnell can provide damage as well, especially on defense.


HOME: Boston Celtics (0-0)

Projected starting five:

  • Jrue Holiday 
  • Derrick White
  • Jaylen Brown
  • Jayson Tatum
  • Kristaps Porzingis (out) / Al Horford

The Celtics have had an easier path than supposed to considering they played a Jimmy Butler-less Miami Heat in the first round and a Jarrett Allen-less Cleveland Cavaliers in the second round, which also missed Donovan Mitchell for a number of games. However, let’s not forget that they were consistently the number one team in the league in the regular season, as evident in having the best record in the league, a top five offense and defense, and the number one net rating.

Much of that was seen in the Indiana season series. Boston may have lost two of the five meetings, but they were on-point offensively, scoring 129.0 PPG on 52.3% shooting (43.6% from three), including the November 1, 2023 matchup where they lit up the scoreboard and handed out a 155-104 throttling. 

Jayson Tatum was at 32.5 PPG and 11.0 RPG in the series, while Jaylen Brown is right behind him with 28.4 on a highly efficient 60.6 FG%, and both should be able to perform as such again if the insane pace were to continue.

Jrue Holiday and Derrick White will continue serving as the disruptive, two-way backcourt that gives a very timely offense. They may produce well with how fast and possession-heavy the series could be. Sam Hauser and Payton Pritchard are in that mix as well.

With Kristaps Porzingis still expected to be out, Al Horford remains in the spot. 


Spread: Celtics (-10)

Over/Under: Over (221)