Pierce Leads Celtics Past Pacers

INDIANAPOLISPaul Pierce scored 21 points and Ray Allen added 17 to help the beat the 95-83 on Tuesday night.

Boston point guard Rajon Rondo missed his fifth straight game with a sprained left ankle. The Celtics improved to 4-1 without him and maintained the best record in the Eastern Conference. The Celtics were coming off an 86-78 loss at Orlando on Christmas that ended a 14-game winning streak.

Brandon Rush led the Pacers with 17 points. Danny Granger scored 15 points, but he shot 5 for 21 from the field.

The Pacers had gotten off to a promising start this season, but they now have lost consecutive home games to Memphis and Boston.

Indiana had already beaten the and Miami this season, but 26 percent shooting in the fourth quarter prevented the Pacers from notching another big-time win.

Indiana led 34-25 in the second quarter before Pierce scored 10 points in two minutes to cut Indiana’s lead to 39-35. The Pacers held on and led 47-45 at halftime.

The Pacers got off to a quick start in the second half as Rush made a 3-pointer and a bank shot to give the Pacers a 52-45 advantage and cause Boston to call timeout. Indiana extended the lead to double digits on a putback by Jeff Foster with just over 7 minutes left in the third quarter.

Boston chipped away for the next several minutes, but the Pacers held on and led 67-66 at the end of the third quarter.

Boston’s Marquis Daniels scored to give the Celtics their first lead since the middle of the first quarter, then Glen Davis followed with a jumper that gave the Celtics a 70-67 edge and led to a Pacers timeout.

Boston pushed the lead out to 77-67 with starters Pierce, and on the bench.

Indiana didn’t make a field goal in the fourth quarter until Josh McRoberts scored with 7:17 left. Boston led by at least seven points the rest of the way.

NOTES: The Pacers shot 53 percent in the first quarter and led 26-19 at the end of the period. … receiver Reggie Wayne, named Tuesday as a starter in the NFL Pro Bowl, attended the game. … Pacers F Mike Dunleavy and Celtics G Nate Robinson collided in the third quarter. Dunleavy ran straight to the locker room holding his face and ended up getting stitches to close a laceration above his right eye. Robinson was cut above the left eye and was to get stitches after the game. … O’Neal fouled out with nine points and two rebounds.

Bookmark and Share