Boston Celtics vs. Indiana Pacers: Predictions, Starting Lineups (12/4/23)

For the first In-Season Tournament knockout game, the Boston Celtics (15-4) face the Indiana Pacers (10-8) this Monday (12/4/23). Get Celtics vs. Pacers moneyline and spread odds, as well as predictions, starting lineups, injuries, and key matchups below.

Boston Celtics vs. Indiana Pacers Prediction

After traveling to the well on Saturday and cashing yet another Celtics first quarter moneyline and spread, it’s time for another journey there.

Boston has outscored opponents by 25.9 points per 100 possessions in the first quarter, which easily leads the NBA. The difference between them and second place is roughly equal to the difference between second and eighth.

Indiana’s defense is downright awful at the moment. They are 29th in Defensive Rating and allowing the most restricted area field goal attempts per game by far. Boston owns the fifth largest restricted area field goal percentage and is achieving the third best expected points per possession on finishes at the rim (per ShotQuality), which doesn’t bode well for Indiana. In addition, Boston’s elite three-point shooters will punish sagging defenders, especially Myles Turner if he plays drop coverage. Look for Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown to get to the rim at will here.

On the other end, Indiana’s elite offense faces a tough matchup. Tyrese Haliburton is in the MVP race at 27 PPG and 11.8 APG on a remarkable 67.2 true shooting percentage, but Jrue Holiday and Derrick White can quench ball handlers at the point-of-attack. Haliburton may see a dip in scoring production as a result. Indiana’s fast-paced offense also meets a Boston defense that ranks second in transition defense. Their long, athletic defense will disrupt passing lanes and force Indiana to play in the half-court. Finally, Horford’s mobility and versatility can counter Myles Turner’s offensive game, which typically bothers opposing centers.

Overall, the Pacers are elite on one end, while Boston is a true two-way nightmare. The Celtics’ starting lineup is far less exploitable than the Pacers’ lineup, so backing Boston to once again control the first quarter is the best bet.

Boston Celtics vs. Indiana Pacers Prediction: 1st Quarter Celtics -1.5 & Moneyline

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Boston Celtics vs. Indiana Pacers Best Odds

The visiting Boston Celtics are 5.5 point favorites here despite Kristaps Porzingis’ injury. Indiana needs to win this game about 34.5 percent of the time for their +190 moneyline to be profitable in the long run. It’s worth noting that the over has hit in 16 of 18 Pacers games this season. A bettor who tailed the over in every game (and assuming -110 odds) would be up roughly 12.5 units.

Boston Celtics Starting Lineup

PG: Jrue Holiday
SG: Derrick White
SF: Jaylen Brown
PF: Jayson Tatum
C: Al Horford

Indiana Pacers Starting Lineup

PG: Tyrese Haliburton
SG: Buddy Hield
SF: Bruce Brown Jr
PF: Obi Toppin
C: Myles Turner

Boston Celtics vs. Indiana Pacers Injuries

Kristaps Porzingis (18.9 PPG) remains out for Boston, although he is nearing a return. For Indiana, Tyrese Haliburton and Obi Toppin are both questionable, while backup forward Jalen Smith is out.

Boston Celtics vs. Indiana Pacers Key Matchups

Tyrese Halibuton’s Health

It goes without saying that Tyrese Haliburton is essential to Indiana’s chances tonight. Not only is he dropping 27 points per game on 51/44/88 shooting splits, but he leads the NBA in assist points created at 31.5 per game. That’s an astoundingly efficient 58.5 points per game that Halibuton accounts for! If he cannot suit up, then Boston should cruise.

Buddy Hield 3PT Shooting

Nothing can swing a matchup like red-hot three-point shooting. Across 566 career games, Buddy Hield owns a 40.2 3PT% on 7.7 attempts per game. Over the past three games though, Hield is 4 for 21 from deep. If he can break out of his mini slump and knock down a few threes in the first quarter, then Indiana has a drastically improved chance of winning the first quarter.

Braxton has been covering the NBA for Lineups since the 2022 season. He's worked with multiple collegiate coaching staffs regarding analytics and scouting, which has allowed him to understand the game on a deeper level. Braxton is also a contributor at Thunderous Intentions.

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