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) /
4 of 6
(Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
(Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /

3. Gordon Hayward plays point-forward

The Boston Celtics will have their hands full trying to score on the Indiana Pacers’ defense. They have solid one-on-one guys all over the floor, an elite rim protector and have a well-coached team discipline that does not allow a lot of easy buckets.

To combat this, the Celtics will have to utilize all their playmaking potential and put an emphasis on a pass-first offense. To get around Indy’s stifling, third ranked defensive rating squad, Boston’s initiators will have to get the ball skipping around until it finds an open player for a good look.

To best maximize Boston’s playmaking potential for the full 48-minute game, look for head coach Brad Stevens to stagnate Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving’s minutes so there is at least one elite caliber playmaker on the perimeter at all times.

Especially with Marcus Smart likely out for the first two rounds of the playoffs, Gordon Hayward will have to show off his playmaking chops if he spends the bulk of his minutes with Terry Rozier in Kyrie’s place.

With Hayward initiating the offense, he can either use his size to shoot over smaller defenders on the perimeter, attack the paint with his slowly but surely regenerating explosiveness for a bucket or dish out to any of the perimeter shooters Boston plays around him.

Indiana’s defense is the real deal. If it weren’t, the team would have fallen off a cliff post-Oladipo’s injury. The Celtics need a patient attack that emphasizes their superior talent if they hope to find consistent ways to score from the field.