The Boston Celtics put on a defensive clinic against the Indiana Pacers in the second half of Sunday's Game 1 victory at the TD Garden. After leading for much of the first half, Indiana was held to only 29 points in the second, thanks to a lack of shot-making and a truly dominant defensive performance for Boston.
Boston only scored 84 points of their own, but received enough offensive contributions from Kyrie Irving and Marcus Morris, who both finished with 20 points, to get the W.
Celtics hold the Pacers to just 29 second half PTS, win 84-74— Bleacher Report NBA (@BR_NBA) April 14, 2019
Marcus Morris: 20 PTS and 7 REB off the bench pic.twitter.com/UpTT3a4btd
The Celtics' second half performance was not only dominant, but it showed the exact reason they could reasonably be expected to tear through the east at a moment's notice.
Though the C's may not have lived to the hype throughout the entire campaign, if they're getting scoring from all over the floor, with Kyrie (20 points), Jayson Tatum (15), Al Horford (10), and Gordon Hayward (10) all staying within themselves to contribute. At some point, the "too many weapons" problem becomes a strength once more if everyone's getting theirs without pushing the boundaries.
Boston's path to the finals is also not exactly a cakewalk, but if they can smother opponents to this degree, and their main rivals remain disjointed (Philly) and spooked (a 0-point showing by Kyle Lowry didn't help Toronto), the top-seeded Bucks may be their only real obstacle.
It's early, but if the Boston Celtics can remain calm like this day in and day out, they certainly have a shot.