After coming off an impressive win over the Oklahoma City Thunder yesterday, the tired Pacers, playing their fourth game in five nights, were never really in it against the Celtics in a dismal 86-72 loss. Despite winning the first two in the series against the Celtics this year (when they were kind of in disarray), the Pacers have dropped the last two against them in disappointing fashion.
Although they are old and injured and missing players, you can never count this Celtics team out because they have their Big Four. This group looks like they are ready for one final run and I wouldn't want the Pacers to face them in the first round, even with home court advantage.
At this stage, I'd much rather the Pacers either lock up the third seed or fifth seed (with home court) and face either the Hawks, the 76ers or the fading Magic (although none of them would be easy) rather than the Celtics. Even if the Pacers scrape through the first round, they would probably face the Bulls if they were the fifth seed or the Heat if they were the second seed, and I don't like their chances in either matchup. That said, if Rose continues to be hampered by injuries, I'd give them a slightly better shot against the Bulls.
Of course, that all depends on whether the Pacers can win their first round matchup, and at the moment, none of their potential opponents look like they'll be a pushover.