Scouting Report: Pacers vs. Celtics

Pacers' plus-minus breakdown | Celtics' plus-minus breakdown

Brian James, a former assistant coach with the Pistons, Raptors and Wizards, spent the 2003-04 season scouting for the SuperSonics. Insider tapped his NBA expertise to break down each playoff series.

This series pits two teams seemingly headed in opposite directions. Coach John Carroll did a tremendous job of regrouping the Boston Celtics for a playoff run after Jim O'Brien resigned. But it looks a little like the Celtics players took their foot off the accelerator a little when they felt they had the playoffs made, losing five of their last six and a lot of momentum. They're fortunate 36 wins gets them in the playoffs. I can't remember when that happened before.

The Indiana Pacers, on the other hand, won their last five games overall, their last eight at home and clinched the home-court advantage throughout the Eastern Conference playoffs. You can't argue with the job Rick Carlisle has done, not only this season in Indiana but also his two seasons in Detroit -- three straight Central Division titles and 163 total victories. His coaching philosophy is very sound.