Celtics

Here’s the Celtics-Pacers series schedule

Plus, a preview of a pre-playoffs special.

Jaylen Brown Celtics Wizards
Jaylen Brown goes to the basket past Washington Wizards center Thomas Bryant. AP Photo/Nick Wass

The fourth-seeded Celtics will play the fifth-seeded Indiana Pacers in the first round of the NBA playoffs, which are scheduled to begin Saturday.

“This is going to be a battle,” coach Brad Stevens said after practice Wednesday afternoon. “These guys are tough, and our guys know that.”

Below is the schedule for the Celtics-Pacers series:

Game 1: Sunday, April 14, 1 p.m. (TD Garden)

Game 2: Wednesday, April 17, 7 p.m. (TD Garden)

Game 3: Friday, April 19, 8:30 p.m. (Bankers Life Fieldhouse)

Game 4: Sunday, April 21, 1 p.m. (Bankers Life Fieldhouse)

Game 5: Wednesday, April 24* (TD Garden)

Game 6: Friday, April 26* (Bankers Life Fieldhouse)

Game 7: Sunday, April 28* (TD Garden)

* = if necessary

Another date Celtics fans will likely want to mark on their calendars is Thursday, April 11, when NBC Sports Boston will debut an original special, “Passing the Torch,” at 8:30 p.m. Hosted by the network’s longtime broadcast duo, Tommy Heinsohn and Mike Gorman, the 30-minute program features a trio of candid discussions in which a current player on the roster is matched with a Celtics legend. 

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The pairings — point guard Kyrie Irving and Bob Cousy, forward Jaylen Brown and Tom “Satch” Sanders, and shooting guard Marcus Smart and Danny Ainge — are purposeful choices. Each conversation offers exchanges of advice, talk of leadership and other topics relevant to this year’s squad, and, especially in Smart and Ainge’s case, a fair amount of laughter.

“I noticed the other day, or it’s been a few weeks now, that you were creeping up on where I ranked as a three-point shooter,” Ainge told Smart. “I tried to trade you that week, but, dang, that deadline passed and now that’s long gone.”

(With 447, Smart ranks seventh all-time on the list of most three-point field goals made by a Celtic. Ainge ranks 10th, with 348. During the regular season, Smart made a career-high 126 three-pointers.)

My personal favorite quote of the program was when Cousy was describing basketball as an art form — an analogy Irving himself has also made before.

“Basketball is an art form,” Cousy told Irving. “It resides in the point guard position. You’re painting a different portrait every time down the floor. The interest is that it changes every time down the floor. But you’re the maestro, you’re the choreographer, the ball’s in your hand. It’s your imagination, your creativity, that’s making it happen.”

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Cousy also stressed the importance of team success over individual stats — another notion Irving has been hammering home this season. Their chat closes with a fitting request from Cousy: “You got to bring home a flag for me.”

Extended cuts of the interviews will be available to fans on “Celtics on Demand” via XFINITY starting Friday, April 12.