Final: Celtics 94, Pacers 87
The Boston Celtics finally reached the .500 mark for the first time this season, evening their record at 9-9, after scoring a 94-87 victory over the Indiana Pacers tonight before a sellout crowd at TD Garden.
"I was telling the guys we're finally at sea level, now we've got to keep our heads above water,'' said Paul Pierce, who led the Celtics to their fourth consecutive win after scoring a game-high 28 points on 10-for-23 shooting, including 4 of 7 from the 3-point arc.
Pierce, who had 17 third-quarter points to help the Celtics expand a 42-34 halftime lead to 71-61 by the end of the third, also had 10 rebounds to go along with 8 assists.
"It's a huge win, especially after the back-to-back,'' Pierce said, referring to Boston's come-from-behind 91-83 road win in Orlando Thursday night, in which the Celtics rallied from a 27-point deficit. "Most of us got in at 3-4 o'clock this morning, we didn't have our normal shootaround to go over the game plan, so we just watched film [in the locker room], so it was just one of those games where, mentally, you're drained after the emotional win [Thursday] night and I'm proud of the way we stepped up and really got the job done.
"The win [Thursday] night probably wouldn't have meant as much if we didn't get it tonight.''
The Celtics also go double-digit contributions from starters Mickael Pietrus (13), Brandon Bass (12) and Kevin Garnett (13). Chris Wilcox scored a season-high 14 points off the bench, as the Celtics reserves outscored Indiana's, 24-17.
"It seems like every night we're getting different contributions from our bench,'' Pierce said. "One night, you have Chris, another night you have Sasha [Pavlovic], you have Marquis and, of course, E'Twaun [Thursday night]. So that's what we're going to need, especially with the injuries that we've had of late. It's going to have to come from a combination of guys to come in there, fill that role, and step up for us, and they've been great at it.''
The Pacers, who dealt the Celtics a humiliating 87-74 loss in their last visit to Boston Jan. 6, got a team-high 21 points from Danny Granger. Paul George had 16 while David West chipped in 14 points.
Celtics 88, Pacers 80, 2:56 -- After the Pacers closed to within 81-75, Mickael Pietrus drained a trey to spark a 7-2 spurt that enabled the Celtics to gain some breathing room, 88-78. But Paul George threw down a breakway dunk to cut it to eight with less than three minutes remaining.
Celtics 81, Pacers 73, 6:48 --
Celtics 81, Pacers 65, 8:38 -- The Celtics opened up a 16-point lead on Marquis Daniels' breakaway dunk. The C's bench has now outscored the Pacers' bench, 24-15, with Wilcox leading the way with a season-high 14 points.
Celtics 71, Pacers 61, end of third -- The Celtics took a 10-point lead into the fourth after getting a lights-out effort from Paul Pierce in the third quarter. Pierce scored 17 points in the period to lead the way.
Celtics 69, Pacers 59, 1:23 -- Celtics in complete control of the game, thanks to Pierce, who now has 24 points, 5 rebounds and 8 assists.
Celtics 62, Pacers 50, 5:21 -- Pierce took the game over, scoring 10 points in a 14-2 run that enabled the Celtics to open up a 12-point lead, 60-48, on Pierce's 3-pointer with 5:53 to go. David West followed with a jumper, but Chris Wilcox, in the game for Bass after he picked up his fourth personal, went to the line for a pair of foul shots to make it a 12-point game.
Celtics 55, Pacers 46, 9:55 -- After Granger hit a pair of foul shots and a converted a Paul Pierce turnover into a breakaway layup that tied it, 46-46, the Celtics reeled off nine unanswered points to take a 9-point lead. Pierce sparked the run with a 3-point burial for a 49-46 lead with 8:25 to go, then fed Avery Bradley on a nice baseline cut to make it 51-46, and then drove the lane for a basket to make it 53-46. Kevin Garnett then converted on a heavily-contested turnaround lane jumper to make it 55-46, prompting the Pacers to call a timeout.
Celtics 44, Pacers 42, 9:55 -- The Pacers opened the second half by outscoring the Celtics, 8-2, to pull within two points. Danny Granger came out on fire, scoring the first two baskets of the half for the Pacers. Tyler Hansbrough answered a Brandon Bass follow dunk with a pair of foul shots (courtesy of Bass' third personal) and David West came back with a jumper to cut the Celtics lead to 2.
Halftime: Celtics 42, Pacers 34
Mickael Pietrus drained a 3-pointer, flashing the Pacers' bench with a double-fisted three-point hand gesture as he raced back downcourt, to give the Celtics a 42-32 lead with 8.5 seconds to go. But the Celtics got their comeuppance when David West drained a buzzer-beating jumper to pull the Pacers within 8 at intermission.
Chris Wilcox led the way for the Celtics with 10 points and 6 rebounds in the first while Danny Granger led the Pacers with 9 first-half points.
Celtics 37, Pacers 30, 2:12 -- Chris Wilcox is having a night for himself. He has scored 10 points to go with 6 rebounds, both season highs. But the Pacers did not go away. They got free throws from Granger and Amundson to cut it to 7. Hibbert was reported to have suffered a sprained ankle.
Celtics 34, Pacers 24, 4:48 -- A driving layup by Brandon Bass is followed by a Paul Pierce offensive putback to give the C's a 10-point lead, 34-24 with 4:55 left. The play proved costly for the Pacers when Roy Hibbert went down in a heap, clutching his right ankle. Not a good turn of events for the visitors who have struggled on the offensive glass, getting shut out in the first quarter.
Celtics 30, Pacers 24, 6:22 -- Pacers scored five in a row on Dahntay Jones' 3-point play and Paul George's fadeaway jumper. Doc Rivers called a timeout to give the Celtics a chance to regroup.
Celtics 30, Pacers 19, 10:49 -- Brandon Bass buries another long baseline jumper to give the C's an 11-point lead, their largest of the game so far.
Celtics 27, Pacers 17, 10:49 -- After Chris Wilcox throws down a resounding dunk to make it 25-17, Marquis Daniels converts on a turnaround jumper to give the Celtics a 10-point edge.
Celtics 23, Pacers 17, end of first quarter -- Chris Wilcox led the C's with 6 points in the first-quarter, hitting a turnaround jumper in the lane with 35.8 seconds remaining in the period to give Boston a 6-point lead. Brandon Bass and Mickael Pietrus each chipped in 4 points as the Celtics converted 11 of 25 field goal attempts in the first quarter.
Celtics 19, Pacers 17, 2:11 -- The Celtics went on an 8-6 run to control a 2-point lead on Brandon Bass' baseline jumper, prompting the Pacers to signal for a timeout. The Celtics are six points away from matching their total first-half output in their last homecourt matchup against the Pacers Jan. 6, when they managed to score only 25 points.
Pacers 11, Celtics 8, 5:50 -- After a timeout, Paul Pierce ties it with a 3-pointer.
Pacers 11, Celtics 8, 5:50 -- After Kevin Garnett scored the first basket of the game, Pacers reeled off seven unanswered points before the Celtics came back and twice pulled within 1 (7-6 and 9-8), the latter on an Avery Bradley reverse layup with 6:59 to go. David West, however, answered with an open jump shot from the left wing to give the Pacers a 3-point lead.
Welcome to TD Garden, where the Celtics, fresh off their 91-83 come-from-behind road win in Orlando Thursday night, will host the Indiana Pacers without starters Ray Allen (ankle), Rajon Rondo (wrist) and Jermaine O'Neal (left knee). The Celtics will be looking to avenge a hideous 87-74 homecourt loss to the Pacers Jan. 6.