The Journal Gazette
Wednesday, April 17, 2019 1:00 am

NBA Playoffs

Pacers, Celtics over ugliness

KYLE HIGHTOWER | Associated Press

BOSTON – The Celtics are preparing for Game 2 with the Pacers aware their series-opening win was notable more for its ugliness than the outcome.

Boston limited Indiana to eight points in the third quarter of its 84-74 Game 1 win. It was the Celtics' lowest point total of the season and the first time they won a game in 2018-19 in which they didn't reach 100 points.

Change is on the minds of both teams.

For the Celtics that could mean tweaks to the starting lineup as they continue to adjust to the absence of Marcus Smart, who is recovering from a torn left oblique.

“It's frustrating, but you have to take it day-by-day and one day at a time,” Smart said.

Celtics coach Brad Stevens acknowledged Smart's absence forced them to play differently and will continue to require adjustments.

Without Smart to help with ball handling duties, they will mostly fall on Kyrie Irving.

“That limits you a little bit,” Stevens said. “We'll play Terry (Rozier) and Gordon (Hayward) more with Kyrie than we have. But I think ultimately there's going to be moments where Kyrie will be it.”

Will that mean changes to the starting lineup?

“We re-evaluate everything every day,” Stevens said.

Need to know: The 74 points scored by the Pacers in Game 1 marked the lowest total by a Celtics playoff opponent since Orlando scored 71 on May 22, 2010. Indiana also shot a brutal 57% (12 for 21) from the free throw line.

Keep an eye on: Boston's rotations. Jaylen Brown started in place of Smart in Game 1, but Stevens has lots of options.

Injury watch: Smart remains optimistic he can make an early return. Tuesday was the first day he was able to walk without pain.

Pressure is on: The Pacers' starting lineup. Bojan Bogdanovic was the lone Indiana starter to reach double figures in Game 1 as the Pacers missed open shots. If that trend continues, they'll be headed home down 2-0.

Pistons at Bucks

(Milwaukee leads 1-0. Game 2, 8 p.m., NBA TV)

Need to know: Detroit's 35-point loss in Game 1 was more lopsided then the Pistons' entire four-game series in 2016 when they lost four straight to Cleveland by a combined 34 points.

Keep an eye on: Milwaukee had a 22-11 advantage in fast-break points in Game 1 and outrebounded the Pistons 54-46.

Injury watch: Detroit star Blake Griffin (knee) remains day to day.

Pressure is on: Andre Drummond is Detroit's other star frontcourt player. He had 12 points before being ejected in the third quarter for a flagrant foul on Milwaukee star Giannis Antetokounmpo. 

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