Boston Celtics

How important is Game 2 in Celtics-Pacers? Here's what the stats say

The Celtics haven't had a 2-0 series lead since the first round in 2023.

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The Boston Celtics escaped Game 1 of their 2024 Eastern Conference Finals series versus the Indiana Pacers with a 133-128 overtime win at TD Garden.

Did the C's survive the Pacers' best punch, or was the opener an example of how this series will be played going forward?

Since 1984, the Celtics are 27-4 in best-of-seven series after winning Game 1, including a 24-2 record when they win Game 1 at home. That's a pretty impressive track record.

So, how important is Game 2, especially for the Celtics?

Consider these numbers from NBC Sports Boston's Celtics stats guru Dick Lipe:

  • Teams that win the first two games of a best-of-seven series go on to win the series 92 percent of the time (320-28).
  • Teams that win the first two games of a best-of-seven series at home go on to win the series 92.6 percent of the time (276-22).
  • Since 1984, the Celtics are 22-1 in best-of-seven series when they take a 2-0 series lead. The only defeat came in 2018 against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The Celtics have held a 2-0 series lead just twice -- 2022 and 2023 in the first round -- since the 2021 playoffs.

They have lost Game 2 in each of the first two rounds this postseason. However, it took incredible shooting performances by the opponent for the Celtics to lose those Game 2s.

The Miami Heat shot 53 percent from 3-point range in their Game 2 win in the first round. The Cleveland Cavaliers shot 46 percent on 3-pointers in their Game 2 victory in the second round. The Celtics still won each of those series in five games.

The Pacers are 2-0 in Game 2s during the playoffs and won both of them on the road. Each of these victories also came after they lost Game 1, so the Celtics should expect a strong effort from the Pacers on Thursday night.

Check out some of the best behind-the-scenes moments from Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals between the Celtics and Pacers.
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