Nothing like a Game 7 in Boston
Boston, MA (Sports Network) – The Indiana Pacers and Boston Celtics play for
their playoff lives tonight, as they meet in the decisive Game 7 of their
Eastern Conference quarterfinal series at the FleetCenter.
The Celtics are 14-2 when they host Game 7. The last time Boston played in
this decisive contest was on May 17, 1992, when it fell at Cleveland to the
Cavaliers, 122-104, in the conference semifinals.
Indiana is 1-3 in Game 7s in the NBA playoffs. All four of the contests were
played on the road. The last time the Pacers played in Game 7 was on May 31,
1998, when they lost to the Chicago Bulls, 88-83, in the conference finals.
This is the first-ever Game 7 at the FleetCenter.
The winner of this series will meet the defending world champion Detroit
Pistons in the conference semifinals.
On Thursday, Antoine Walker scored 20 of his 24 points after halftime —
including five in overtime — and the Celtics forced the decisive seventh game
against Indiana with a 92-89 victory in Game 6 at Conseco Fieldhouse. Walker
scored five straight points in overtime — on a three-pointer and a tough
runner in the lane — to give Boston a four-point lead with 59 seconds left.
Paul Pierce scored 20 points with 11 rebounds in Game 6s victory for Boston,
but he cost his team a possible regulation victory when he was ejected for his
second technical foul in the final moments of the fourth quarter.
Jermaine O’Neal scored 26 points with 10 rebounds to lead Indiana, but he
missed his only two field goal attempts in overtime — including a turnaround
in the lane that would have tied the game with 1.5 seconds left. Stephen
Jackson added 14 points in the loss, while Anthony Johnson had 13 and Reggie
Miller scored 12.
This is the third consecutive campaign that these teams have met in the first
round of the postseason. Indiana swept the Celtics in four games last season,
but Boston ousted the Pacers in six games two years ago. These teams have met
a total of four times in the opening round, with Boston taking three of the
sets. The Celtics eliminated the Pacers in five games, 3-2, in 1991 and in
three games, 3-0, in 1992.
Boston is 8-5 all-time as the host versus Indiana in the postseason. The
Celtics are just 1-6 in their last seven home games in the playoffs.
The Pacers have won four of their last seven road contests in the postseason.
This is the Celtics’ fourth consecutive trip to the postseason after a six-
year drought in the mid-1990’s. Boston is still looking for its first NBA
title since the 1985-86 campaign. The Celtics, who have won 16 championships,
haven’t been back to the NBA Finals since 1987.
Indiana was 19-22 as the visitor during the regular season, while the Celtics
were 27-14 at home.