The Boston Celtics are set for a first-round matchup against the gritty Indiana Pacers to open up the 2019 NBA Playoffs.
The Celtics have a major advantage with one of the best point guards in the NBA on their side in Kyrie Irving. And according to ESPN’s Jalen Rose, all the drama surrounding Irving will seemingly go away.
“I think Boston can survive because they have the best player in the series in Kyrie Irving, and everything we saw throughout the regular season, him moping into press conferences, him talking about his coach, talking about his teammates,” Rose said on ESPN’s “Get Up”. “I think we’re going to see a new, energized version of Kyrie now that the postseason is here.”
Irving, who missed the playoffs last season, undoubtedly needs to step up and be a leader for this team if they plan to make another run in a deep Eastern Conference.
While the Celtics will be without top-defender Marcus Smart due to a partially torn oblique, the Pacers will be without their top player in Victor Oladipo. With these injuries, the Celtics and Pacers will need to do the little things right, according to Rose.
“So injuries, attitudes with the officials, foul trouble, those type of things are going to decide it, the little things,” said Rose via ESPN. “Turnovers, the ability to make free throws. This series is going to be really close.”
Although the Celtics won three out of four games against the Pacers this season, and lost to them only once by a point, Indiana has played Boston strong throughout the course of the year, outside of their final matchup. Their physical and tough style will give Boston all they can handle on both ends of the floor.
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