No contest: Celtics roll over Pacers
Boston, MA (Sports Network) – Raef LaFrentz scored 21 points and made all five
of his three-point attempts as the Boston Celtics used a huge second-quarter
surge to defeat the Indiana Pacers, 102-82, in the opening game of their
Eastern Conference quarterfinal series.
Gary Payton added 14 points and seven assists for the Celtics, who shook off a
cold start to outscore Indiana 39-11 in the second quarter en route to the
Antoine Walker and Ricky Davis each finished with 13 points while Paul Pierce,
who missed his first nine shots and finished 2-of-11 from the floor, had 12
points to go along with nine rebounds and five assists in the win.
Stephen Jackson scored 25 points to lead the Pacers, who will look to even up
the best-of-seven series Monday night in Game 2. Austin Croshere came off the
bench and was Indiana’s only other scorer in double figures with 10 points.
The two teams are meeting in the quarterfinal round of the playoffs for a
third consecutive year. After Boston won in six games in the 2003 first-round
series, Indiana swept the Celtics in a first-round matchup en route to the
conference finals last year.
Boston, which shot poorly and trailed by eight in the early part of the first
quarter, went into the second trailing by two.
However, the Celtics took their first lead of the game when Al Jefferson made
it 22-20 with a pair of free throws a minute into the second quarter. Marcus
Banks then came off the bench and gave Boston a spark with a steal and a layup
followed by back-to-back three-pointers in his first couple of minutes on the
“We’ve got a pretty deep bench,” said Banks. “We played great and came out
with a lot of energy.”
Two straight baskets by Walker put the Celtics up 45-26 with 4:13 left in the
second. Tony Allen’s dunk with in the final seconds of the period gave Boston
a 26-point halftime lead of 57-31.
The Celtics’ bench outscored Indiana’s reserves by a 29-2 margin over the
first 24 minutes of the game.
“In the first quarter, the Pacers really came out in the beginning of the game
and I thought they were the aggressor. I thought they attacked the basket,”
said Boston head coach Doc Rivers. “Then in the second quarter with the bench,
we had two things going on. We were attacking the basket off the dribble and
we were attacking the basket with post play.”
Indiana head coach Rick Carlisle and guard Reggie Miller each picked up
technical fouls in the second quarter. Miller finished with just seven points
and went 1-of-7 from the floor.
Boston cruised in the second half, going up by as many as 37 points on a
three-pointer by Walker with 5:59 remaining in the third that made it a 76-39
“What we have to do is match the energy that second unit brings,” said
the Pacers’ Jermaine O’Neal, who finished with just seven points, about the
Celtics’ bench. “The first quarter went the way we wanted it to go, but that
second quarter just kind of got out of hand.”
The Celtics shot 51 percent (38-of-74) from the field, going 10-of-18 from
Meanwhile, the Pacers hit on just 35 percent (23-of-66) of their field goal
attempts. They went 6-of-12 from beyond the arc.
“That was a demolition,” said Carlisle. “I thought we played a good first
quarter, but then it went down really quickly in the second.”
Indiana got off to a quick start, taking a 12-4 lead on a tough turnaround
jumper by Jackson with 5:43 left in the first quarter.
Boston, which opened the game just 1-of-11 from the field, pulled to within
14-12 after LaFrentz buried three-pointers on consecutive possessions. The
Celtics tied it at 18-18 on a basket by Walker with 1:35 remaining in the
stanza, but trailed 20-18 after a quarter of play.