X-Factors That Could Swing the Celtics vs. Pacers Eastern Conference Finals

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(Photo : Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS – Jaylen Brown (#7) of the Boston Celtics reacts to missing a shot during the first quarter in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Second Round Playoffs against the Cleveland Cavaliers at TD Garden on May 07, 2024 in Boston, Massachusetts.

Well, we’re finally here! 

The Eastern Conference Finals will kick off Tuesday between the red-hot Indiana Pacers and the formidable No.1 seed Boston Celtics. 

The high-octane Pacers were able to knock out the Knicks and Bucks on their way to the Conference Finals, while the Celtics dominated their opposing forces, Heat and Cavs, to get to this moment.

Both teams have significantly different playmakers who have helped them along this way..

Here are some X-Factors for both the Celtics and Pacers who can help swing the series in favor of their team. 

RELATED ARTICLE: Celtics vs. Pacers: Can Indiana Stand Up to Boston in the ECF?

Andrew Nembhard, Indiana Pacers 

Andrew Nembhard has been a breath of fresh air for the Pacers throughout the postseason.

The second-year guard has provided Indiana with a nice combination of both offense and defense, helping them reach the conference finals. 

Nembhard is averaging 13 points, 4.8 assists, and 3.2 rebounds throughout the playoffs so far. He has picked up the defensive assignments for some of the best guards in the league, while also spacing the floor for Tyrese Haliburton. 

Andrew Nembhard has also contributed to the Pacers offensive surge, dropping 21 points in Game 7 against the Knicks. 

He should continue to be an impactful player for Indiana by guarding the Boston Celtics’ dynamic duo of Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum.

Pascal Siakam, Indiana Pacers

Indiana Pacers v New York Knicks - Game Seven
NEW YORK, NEW YORK – MAY 19: Pascal Siakam #43 and Tyrese Haliburton #0 of the Indiana Pacers celebrate after beating the New York Knicks 130-109 in Game Seven of the Eastern Conference Second Round Playoffs at Madison Square Garden on May 19, 2024 in New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.
(Photo : Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

When the Pacers traded for Pascal Siakam before the trade deadline, the idea was to acquire another star, next to Tyrese Haliburton, who could help elevate Indiana into championship contention.

So far this move has played out nicely, as the Pacers are playing in the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time in four years. 

Siakam has been a stabilizing force for the Pacers throughout their playoff run. The two-time All-Star forward has been the secondary piece Indiana has needed on both sides of the floor.  

Pascal Siakam scored 25 points for Indy in Game 7 and has been consistent on defense.

The Pacers will look to lean on him in this series against the Boston Celtics, as he holds the most playoff experience on the roster.

Derrick White, Boston Celtics

Derrick White is the unsung hero for the Boston Celtics through their postseason run. 

Offensively, the nine-year veteran point guard has stepped up in games where Tatum or Brown haven’t had it going, including an 18-point performance in Game 5 to help close out the Cavaliers.

He has consistently torched whoever has been in front of him and has been a pest on defense. White should continue to do so in their Conference Finals series against the Pacers. 

Jaylen Brown, Boston Celtics 

When talking about a Playoff X-Factor, one has to mention Jaylen Brown.

The Celtics swingman has been impressive and extremely reliable throughout Boston’s run this year, picking up his scoring and becoming a defensive nightmare for opposing wings. 

Brown has been extremely consistent for the Celtics. In the 10 postseason games he’s played, Jaylen Brown is averaging 23.1 points, 6.6 rebounds and 2.5 assists while being the primary source of Boston’s offense at times.

With a high likelihood that the Pacers defense will key in on Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown should continue to stabilize any offensive slack for Boston, making him even more important than ever for the Celtics.  

READ MORE: Pacers Icon Reggie Miller Brutally Trolls Josh Hart, Knicks After Playoff Fail

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