- The Indiana Pacers are 8-point home underdogs versus the visiting Boston Celtics
- Jayson Tatum scored a record-breaking 55 points in Sunday’s NBA All-Star Game
- The Eastern Conference showdown tips off from Gainbridge Fieldhouse at 7:00 pm ET on Thursday, February 23rd
Jayson Tatum won the Kobe Bryant MVP Award on Sunday after leading Team Giannis to a 184-175 victory over Team LeBron with 55 points, a new NBA All-Star Game record.
The 24-year-old will look to stay hot against the cellar-dwelling Indiana Pacers on Thursday. Before we break down the matchup, check out our guide to betting on the 2023 NBA Finals and our tips for betting on the NBA.
Pacers vs Celtics
|Spread||Money Line||Total Points|
|Boston Celtics||-8 (-110)||TBD||TBD|
|Indiana Pacers||+8 (-110)||TBD||TBD|
Jayson Tatum proves he belongs
After leading Boston all the way to the NBA Finals last year, Jayson Tatum had his team sitting in first place at the All-Star break with a 42-17 record. The 24-year-old is often overlooked when discussing the best players in the NBA. But, not by Giannis Antetokounmpo. The Greek Freak made his Eastern Conference rival his first pick in the All-Star draft.
Tatum then went on to put up 55 points, 10 rebounds and six assists. Not only did he become the first Celtic to win the MVP award in over 40 years, he handed Lebron James his first loss in six tries as an All-Star Game captain.
MOST POINTS IN AN ALL-STAR GAME EVER ⭐️ pic.twitter.com/buR5sPXIks
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) February 20, 2023
Jaylen Brown returns
The other Celtic in Salt Lake City on Sunday was almost as impressive. Jaylen Brown led Team LeBron with 35 points, going one-on-one against his Boston teammate on four-straight possessions. More importantly, the 26-year-old did not look bothered by the new mask he was wearing in his first appearance since sustaining a facial fracture two weeks ago.
Brown is averaging a career-high 26.5 points and 7.0 rebounds at the All-Star Break, shooting almost 50 per cent from the floor. While there are a lot of dynamite duos in the NBA right now, Tatum and Brown might be the best.
Indiana vs Boston
Boston is favored by 8 points over the hometown Pacers on Thursday. Indiana has only won two of its past 11 games and, with a 26-34 record, is the sixth-worst team in the league. Tyrese Haliburton didn’t look out of place in his first All-Star Game appearance, finishing with 18 points in limited minutes. He and teammate Buddy Hield also advanced to the final of Saturday’s 3-Point contest.
However, other than center Myles Turner, there’s not much else on the Pacers roster to get excited about it. With four picks in the top 31 in the 2023 NBA Draft, there’s hope this once proud franchise is better by the time they host next year’s All-Star Game. But, you can count on them continuing to suck for the remainder of this season.
Tyrese Haliburton just tied the NBA 3PT contest record in Round 1 😱#Starry3PT x #StateFarmSaturday pic.twitter.com/n4wDuUnQSd
— NBA (@NBA) February 19, 2023
The Celtics’ only loss in their past six games came last Tuesday against the Bucks. That was with both Tatum and Brown missing from the lineup. In addition to those two stars, Boston has Marcus Smart back. Their starting point guard returned from an 11-game injury absence just prior to the All-Star Break.
That all spells bad news for Indiana.
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