Game 4: Celtics 135, Pacers 117
"Defense" isn't in Indiana's vocabulary, as the Pacers allowed the second-most points per game (119.5) in the NBA a season ago.
The Celtics took full advantage of that, dropping 142 points during an overtime win against Indiana on Feb. 23 before scoring 120 in another victory on March 24. With an even better offense this season, Boston should have no problem reaching the 120-point plateau once again.
Give the Pacers credit, though. Tyrese Haliburton is one of the best facilitators in the game right now, and Bennedict Mathurin could make some serious strides in the right direction in his sophomore campaign. Bruce Brown, a Dorchester, Massachusetts, native, will also be looking to get his in front of the hometown crowd.
Game 5: Celtics 115, Nets 109
Brooklyn has the chance to be sneaky good this season, and the Celtics are going to have their hands full with Mikal Bridges when the Atlantic Division rivals meet for the first time in 2023-24.
Bridges averaged 26.1 points in 27 games with the Nets last season after coming over from Phoenix in the Kevin Durant trade. However, with Jayson Tatum and Brown, Boston has the wings to get Bridges out of rhythm.
That should force players like Spencer Dinwiddie, Cameron Johnson and Ben Simmons to have to pick up the slack, and while they might be able to keep things close, the Celtics should ultimately have no issue improving to 4-1.
Look for Brown to headline the victory, as he averaged 31.7 points while shooting 51.7 percent (15-for-29) from 3-point range in three games against Brooklyn last season.
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