Boston Celtics: 5 keys to series vs. Indiana Pacers

(Photo by Matthew J. Lee/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
(Photo by Matthew J. Lee/The Boston Globe via Getty Images) /
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(Photo by AJ Mast/NBAE via Getty Images)
(Photo by AJ Mast/NBAE via Getty Images) /

4. Al Horford making it rain

There’s a solid argument that no matter who they’re playing, Al Horford has the most significant impact of any player on whether or not the Boston Celtics will win the game. His defensive and offensive versatility open so many doors for the other talented Celtics players and his impact can be extremely tough to gauge when looking at the confines of a box score.

However, one stat that does show up that is extremely significant to Horford’s impact is his 3-point shooting percentage. If that shot is falling at a reasonably high clip, Horford’s outside game blazes a huge trail for Boston’s scorers to go to the rim unchallenged by rim protectors.

With Oladipo out, Indiana’s best overall player on a team filled with high-quality guys at every spot on the floor is center Myles Turner. With a scoring touch inside and out, Turner’s offensive game is just starting to come around to his absolutely elite defensive game.

At 2.7 blocks per game, Turner led the league in swats and has risen to the ranks of one of the most impactful defensive rim protectors. If the Celtics hope to score with any sort of consistency in the paint, they’ll have to make sure that Myles Turner is not around the rim.

This is where Horford’s — and to a much smaller degree Baynes’ — outside shooting will be so important. Horford is most likely to draw the Turner matchup on offense, as he is the Celtics most talented and effective low post scorer.

If Horford can draw Turner away from the rim and force him to guard him intently on the outside, his passing can unlock easy baskets in the Turner-less paint.