The Boston Celtics will next cross paths with the Indiana Pacers, sitting four wins shy of a return to the NBA Finals.

Boston finished 3-2 in the regular-season series with Indiana, entering the Eastern Conference finals fresh off a five-game breeze past the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Celtics mailed in a hiccup performance in Game 2, but kept the Cavaliers at bay throughout most of the series, bringing themselves one step closer to the ultimate goal: Banner 18.

Looking ahead, it’s prediction time before the Celtics and Pacers meet.

“I’ll take the Celtics in six games in the Eastern Conference finals,” Travis Thomas explained on NESN’s “Hold My Banner” podcast. “There’s gonna be a couple of games where the Pacers out-Celtics the Celtics.”

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Thomas added: “All five starters for the Pacers in Game 7 (scored in) double figures. Again, just numbers, forget the names. It doesn’t even matter. 20 (points), 19, 17, 20, 26, and then you had T.J. McConnell coming off the bench; chipped in 12. Efficient, spread it out, everyone can score. They’re basically the Celtics lite.”

The Pacers underwent a rigorous seven-game battle with the Knicks. New York head coach Tom Thibodeau ran the Knicks into the ground, pushing an already-limited roster’s limit while Indiana took advantage.

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That game plan can’t be copied and pasted once the Pacers arrive at TD Garden and tip-off with the Celtics on Tuesday night. Boston’s gifted itself extra rest by putting away its less-talented postseason foes early, ensuring a physical edge paired with its home-court advantage.

Featured image via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images