Pacers’ Unblemished Home Record Tested in Crucial Game 3 Against Road-Warrior Celtics

In Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals, the Indiana Pacers—who have a perfect 6-0 postseason record at home—will have to overcome a 2-0 series disadvantage. It’s a familiar but formidable task. The top-seeded Boston Celtics, their opponent, have won all four of their away games in the postseason, demonstrating their invincible road prowess.

The health of All-Star guard Tyrese Haliburton, who hurt his left hamstring again in Game 2 and is rated as questionable for Saturday’s crucial game, will determine whether the Pacers can mount a comeback.  The Pacers’ chances are clouded by the injury, but they are resilient and eager to play in front of their ardent supporters, who are preparing for a historic weekend that includes the Indianapolis 500.

The importance of having home-court advantage was highlighted by Pacers forward Pascal Siakam, saying, “Our fans give us so much energy.” “We can’t wait to go out there Saturday and feed off the energy they’re going to bring.”

In the meantime, the Celtics travel to Indianapolis with a well-defined plan in place for success: win two more games to guarantee their spot in the NBA Finals for the second time in three years. They have successfully used similar tactic in past rounds, going on the road to sweep the Miami Heat and Cleveland Cavaliers after jumping out to a 2-0 lead.

The Celtics recognize the challenge of playing in Indiana even though they are confident. Coach Joe Mazzulla of the Celtics observed, “They do a great job defending their home court.” “It’s going to take a lot more to get the job done.”

In addition to facing obstacles of its own, Boston must also figure out how to use Jayson Tatum more aggressively and deal with the possible absence of backup center Luke Kornet, who damaged his left wrist in Game 2. Kristaps Porzingis, the center, is already out of the picture for Game 3.

The Pacers’ potent offense was slowed down by the Celtics’ defensive changes in Game 2, especially the usage of a smaller unit that included former Pacer Oshae Brissett. It remains to be seen whether this tactic works in Indianapolis.

Haliburton or not, the Pacers are determined to turn things around and make this series competitive. Pacers guard T.J. McConnell remarked, “It’s tough when your franchise guy goes down.” “But that’s a time for everyone to step up and take a bigger role.”

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