Pierce helps Celtics edge Pacers
Boston, MA (Sports Network) – Paul Pierce posted 31 points and eight assists
as Boston beat Indiana, 99-98, at the TD Banknorth Garden.
Delonte West netted 17 points for Boston, which has won three of it last four
games. Wally Szczerbiak and Ryan Gomes scored 13 points apiece, and Raef
LaFrentz added 11 points and 11 boards.
Peja Stojakovic scored 24 points for Indiana, which had a two-game winning
streak snapped. Stephen Jackson scored 20 points and Fred Jones had 16. David
Harrison chipped in 10 points.
Jones tied the game at 96 on a jumper with one minute remaining, but Pierce
banked in a trey with 39.2 seconds left to put Boston up 99-96.
“I played great defense,” Jackson said. “Tough three he hit off the glass and
there’s nothing you can do about it. It was just one of those shots that was
just meant to be. I just didn’t want to foul him. I wanted to make him take a
Jones scored a layup with 35 seconds on the clock to bring Indiana within a
point. Orien Greene missed a pair of free throws off the front of the rim
with 8.8 seconds to go, and Indiana recovered possession. However, Jackson
missed a potential game-winning jumper at the buzzer.
Indiana led 29-26 after the first quarter. Both teams scored 26 points in the
second quarter and Indiana led 55-52 at halftime.
Boston rallied for a 19-4 run, capped by a Greene breakaway slam with 2:26
left in the third quarter, and led 81-78 heading into the fourth.
“We just kept scratching,” Boston coach Doc Rivers said. “I told our guys at
halftime that I thought our first half was as soft defensively as we’d been
all year. And we started our third quarter out the same way. They got three or
four open shots and I had to burn two timeouts but then I thought our bench,
even though they were outscored in a big way, was the reason we won the game.”
The Pacers played the third of four-game road trip. Indiana opened the swing
with a 101-91 win over the New Jersey Nets, then posted a 99-93 triumph over
the Washington Wizards on Wednesday. It heads to Philadelphia on Sunday to
wrap up the road trip.
Indiana is 2-7 in its last nine road games, and has an 11-17 mark away from
Conseco Fieldhouse this season.
The Celtics snapped a two-game home losing streak, and have a 17-13 mark at
TD Banknorth Garden.
Boston is 2-0 against the Pacers this season, having registered an 85-71 win
on December 14 in Beantown…These two teams will meet two more times on March
19 and April 12…Boston has won three in a row after losing the previous five
meetings with the Pacers. Indiana has dropped three straight and seven of 10