The Boston Celtics and Indiana Pacers meet in a playoff basketball game tonight. It may look like a track meet or target practice.

They are two of the NBA's best shooting teams. They also are good at the running game. And the success of those aspects is intertwined with the quality of their defense."For us to win, we have to run, get easy buckets," Indiana's Chuck Person said. "If not, a team can lock in on our sets. When we slow down, our defense gets bad, really bad. If it's a halfcourt game we can't win."

Hawks vs. Pistons

Brendan Malone believes the first step toward a Detroit Pistons three-peat involves respect.

The Pistons' quest for a third consecutive NBA championship continues tonight when they begin first-round play against the Atlanta Hawks at The Palace.

The Pistons took the regular-season series from the Hawks 5-0 and have defeated the Hawks in 12 of their last 16 regular-season meetings.

Malone, one of the Pistons' assistant coaches, thinks that might be a problem. Especially if the Pistons take the Hawks for granted.

"It is a mental series," Malone said. "The biggest challenge is going in and not showing them respect. It is only natural to think you can tiptoe through the tulips and get to the second round."

Trail Blazers vs. SuperSonics

The Seattle SuperSonics are loaded with potential. The Portland Trail Blazers are loaded with talent.

The Blazers are heavily favored to win their best-of-5 first-round series with the Sonics, which begins tonight at Memorial Coliseum.

But Portland coach Rick Adelman keeps worrying about that Sonics potential.

"I think they have the talent to beat a lot of teams," he said. "I think they're going to be a team next year that's going to be very good. They've got a coach who's been through all the playoffs in the world and won championships. They're a dangerous team and we have to approach it that way."