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Can Celtics slow Pacers' potent offense?

Brian Babineau / National Basketball Association / Getty

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The Celtics had no business winning Game 1 after trailing by three with 10 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter. The Pacers' late-game blunders and Jaylen Brown's corner three sent the game to overtime. From there, Boston pulled away and escaped a potentially harrowing Game 1 loss.

Let's dive into how each team might respond in Game 2 and bets to target.

Pacers team total: Under 107.5

Boston's uninspiring defensive effort in Game 1 was an unusual sight for the NBA's second-best defense. The Celtics lacked focus and energy, resulting in an Indiana scoring barrage.

If the Celtics want to avoid another scare and take a 2-0 series lead, they must turn up the heat defensively, which I expect they will. Granted, the Pacers have the best playoff offense, while the Celtics have the second-best, so a high-scoring series isn't a surprise.

Indiana shot 53% from the field, 37% from three, and 90% from the free-throw line. Those shooting splits are hard to replicate in consecutive road games. The Pacers scored 117 points in regulation. I expect the Celtics to make the necessary adjustments to limit Indiana's attack.

Odds: -115

Tyrese Haliburton: Under 19.5 points

Another angle to fade Indiana's offense is to bet against Haliburton, whose decision- and shotmaking have been exceptional the last two games. Haliburton drilled six threes in Game 7 against the Knicks and Game 1 against the Celtics. That's an uncharacteristically hot stretch. Some of the threes he made in Game 1 were ridiculous:

Haliburton deserves credit for probing and tearing apart the Celtics' defense with his shooting and playmaking. Jrue Holiday and Derrick White served as Haliburton's primary defenders. The Celtics' lackluster defense in Game 1 had no perimeter resistance, which should be one of Boston's adjustments.

The Celtics let Haliburton come off ball screens freely instead of blitzing, hedging, or approaching the level of the screen. It's fair to expect Boston to adjust and put added pressure on Haliburton coming off screens. That'll decrease his offensive impact, particularly in the scoring column.

After impressive back-to-back shooting performances, Haliburton will have a pedestrian outing in Game 2.

Odds: -125

Derrick White: Over 25.5 PRA

White has a favorable matchup against the Pacers. Indiana has a scarce selection of talented perimeter defenders. Its lack of perimeter resistance is a primary reason it had a bottom-tier defense all season.

The Pacers' best defenders guard Jayson Tatum and Brown, leaving White against a stiff defender. This allows him to penetrate the lane to score and create shots for his teammates. He had 15 points, nine assists, and six rebounds in Game 1. He should replicate that with similar production.

Odds: -108

Sam Oshtry is a sports betting writer at theScore. You can follow him on X @soshtry for more betting coverage.

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