Boston Celtics

Wild conference finals stat might surprise you ahead of Celtics-Pacers

Home teams have struggled in recent conference finals series.

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The Boston Celtics have homecourt advantage in their Eastern Conference Finals series versus the Indiana Pacers after leading the NBA with a 64-18 record during the regular season.

Historically, the team with homecourt advantage has fared significantly better in the conference finals. In fact, home teams in the conference finals have a record of 295-161 (64.7 percent) since 1984.

But you might be surprised to learn that over the last three seasons, the home teams in the conference finals round have a lackluster 16-19 record.

What's more, the Celtics have lost four of their last five Game 1s of the conference finals dating back to 2017, including a series-opening defeat at TD Garden against the Miami Heat last season.

The Celtics are 16-15 in their last 31 home playoff games dating back to the 2021 postseason. They lost three of four home games to the Heat in last year's conference finals defeat.

These stats aren't great for the Celtics entering Tuesday night's Game 1, but there are some encouraging trends working in the Boston's favor.

They are 8-1 against the Pacers in their last nine head-to-head matchups in Boston. The Pacers went 21-20 on the road in the regular season and they're 2-5 in the playoffs so far. One of those wins was a Game 7 triumph over the New York Knicks in the second round, but they needed the best single-game shooting performance in playoff history to emerge victorious.

It's also worth noting that, among the 16 playoff teams, the Celtics rank No. 1 in net rating, No. 2 in offensive rating, No. 3 in defensive rating, No. 2 in points allowed, No. 3 in rebounds per game and No. 3 in 3-point percentage.

The Celtics are the most talented and deepest team left in the final four, which why they are heavy favorites to win the NBA Finals next month. Even if the Celtics lose a home game or two versus the Pacers, they should still win the series. Boston is 10-3 on the road in the playoffs since last season, including 4-0 in 2024.

Chris Forsberg, Tom Curran and Trenni Casey discuss whether or not the Celtics should play Kristaps Porzingis in the Eastern Conference Finals vs. the Pacers.
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