Celtics 94, Pacers 87: Boston Defeats Indiana For Fourth Straight Win

On Friday night, The Boston Celtics continued their hot streak, as Paul Pierce (26 points, 10 rebounds) and company won their fourth straight game by defeating the Indiana Pacers 94-87 at TD Garden in Boston, MA.

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Celtics Overtime: Paul Pierce Leads Victory Against Indiana Pacers

Celtics Overtime is a postgame feature providing extra news, notes and analysis from each game. Boston defeated the Indiana Pacers, 94-87, on Friday night at the TD Garden.

After Thursday night's victory against the Orlando Magic, when the Celtics recovered from a 27-point deficit for what Doc Rivers deemed a character-building win, Rivers jumped up and down on the sidelines. Brandon Bass shook Paul Pierce with excitement. Kevin Garnett, blood still boiling after the comeback, gave a classic interview with Craig Sager, spewing unfinished thoughts about bar fights, Charles Barkley and Ray Allen's new child.

There would be no such exhibition of joyousness on Friday, despite another victory against a tough Eastern Conference team that came with three starters sitting on the bench in suits. Friday's 94-87 victory against the Indiana Pacers was business as usual, the Celtics settling into their role as tough-minded villains who contest every shot, spit vulgarity in opponents' direction, share the basketball like a movie-going couple might share a large box of popcorn and fail to let any excuses -- like the aforementioned missing starters, two of whom are All-Stars, or that they were playing on the second night of a back-to-back -- limit their success.

AND THE TRUTH SHALL SET THEM FREE, AGAIN

It's difficult to remember, but Pierce shot 3-11 in the first half and missed a number of point-blank layups that bounced off the front rim, never climbing high enough to fall through the nets. Yet when the Pacers mounted a run to tie the game early in the third quarter, Pierce shed the memories of missed layups and donned the threads of an assassin.

He attacked with left-handed layups, drilled jumpers from outside, scored 17 points in the frame, and did all that scoring while orchestrating the offense in the absence of Rajon Rondo. The Truth finished the game with 28 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists. He spent the third quarter scaling a mountain with one arm while seizing the Celtics with his other and carrying them to the summit, too.

WILCOX BECOMES LATEST NON-STAR TO STAR

In the absence of the three missing starters, Boston's bench has begun to play a nightly game of musical chairs to determine which reserve will become an unsung hero. In the first Orlando Magic win, Avery Bradley implanted himself inside of Jameer Nelson's jock strap and wouldn't let Nelson breathe. In the second Magic win, E'Twaun Moore became a flame thrower. And in the Pacers victory, Chris Wilcox did yeoman's work on the glass, shot 6-8 from the field and even shot the first "Chris Wilcox heat check" of the year, a turnaround jump shot from the post that airballed, but was pretty much the only mistake Wilcox made the entire night.

Wilcox managed to accomplish all that despite still feeling out of shape while he recovers from the lockout-shortened training camp and a shoulder injury that limited his action for a couple weeks. (Boston Globe)

"I was a little winded,'' he said, "but it was a good one.''

Said Celtics coach Doc Rivers: "The last two games, Chris has been - you know, if he could play with an oxygen tank, he'd be phenomenal. He was absolutely dying out there. But he's still giving us the time and he's doing everything for us, which is terrific.''

When he was apprised about Rivers's playful oxygen-tank remark, Wilcox replied, "Yeah, next time I'm going to go out there with one on my back.''

THREE-POINT DEFENSE PAVES THE WAY

Rarely does a team shoot 1-19 from behind the three-point arc, but the Pacers managed to complete the woeful stat line Friday night, missing their last 18 threes after Danny Granger drilled one less than two minutes into the game. It's unlikely the Pacers would shoot that poorly again, even with blindfolds on in gusting winds, but the Celtics should be given credit for making serious effort to contest every jump shot and turn open shots into uncomfortable ones.

Boston's effort to close out to open shooters was best illustrated on Indiana's last long-distance attempt, when Brandon Bass -- with the Celtics ahead by 10 points and less than a minute remaining in the game -- scrambled to assure that Paul George had a hand in his face. Bass originally made a mistake by gambling on the perimeter, but when Celtics teammates helped Bass take care of David West, the power forward noticed George by himself on the wing and sprinted to make George's look a little less likely to fall. The result wasn't an impossible shot for George or a rejection for Bass, but Boston's extra effort increased George's degree of difficulty and helped contribute to his miss.

For more Boston Celtics coverage, visit our team page and blog, Celtics Blog.

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Celtics 94, Pacers 87: Paul Pierce, C's Defeat Indiana For Fourth Straight Win

Boston, MA (Sports Network) - Temporarily, the Celtics may not have Rajon Rondo or Ray Allen in the lineup, but they still have Paul Pierce.

As the Pacers cut Boston's lead to two in the third quarter, Pierce put the team on his back, netting 17 of his 28 points in the stanza as the Celtics took down Indiana, 94-87, for their fourth straight win.

"We had unbelievable energy," Celtics head coach Doc Rivers said. "We thought the key was to force them into playing vs. our half court defense. Thought we did that."

Pierce also added 10 rebounds and eight assists for the Celtics.

Rondo sat out his fifth consecutive game due to a wrist injury, while Allen missed his third straight contest with a jammed left ankle.

But Pierce has really stepped up in their absence, averaging 23.4 points, 8.2 assists and 6.4 rebounds over his last five outings -- including Friday night's game.

Danny Granger netted 21 points to lead the Pacers, who went 1-of-19 from beyond the arc.

Indiana, which came into Friday's game averaging 12.8 offensive rebounds per game, outrebounded the Celtics by just a 10-9 margin on the offensive glass.

"They're the number one offensive rebounding team in the league. We concentrated on that and got some second chance points ourselves," Pierce said.

An 8-2 Pacers spurt to start the second half, capped by David West's jumper, trimmed Boston's lead to 44-42.

But Pierce poured in nine points as the Celtics countered with a 15-4 run to increase the advantage back to double-digits, 57-46, midway through the third.

Boston took a 71-61 lead into the fourth.

The Celtics led by as many as 16 in the final stanza as the Pacers were unable to rally down the stretch.

Chris Wilcox had six points as Boston led 23-17 after the first quarter. The Pacers turned the ball over six times in the opening stanza.

Boston used a 10-0 run in between the first and second quarters to take a 27-17 advantage with 10:51 remaining in the half. Boston's bench provided the spark, going 4-for-4 from the field during the spurt.

West nailed a jumper at the first-half buzzer to cut Indiana's deficit to 42-34 heading into the locker room. Boston held Indiana to just 30 percent shooting from the floor in the opening half.

Game Notes

The Celtics snapped a three-game losing streak against the Pacers...Wilcox finished with 14 points and Kevin Garnett added 13 points and eight rebounds for Boston...Boston outrebounded Indiana 45-42.

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Celtics Vs. Pacers Score Update: Paul Pierce Comes Alive, C's Lead 71-61 In Third

Well, ladies and gents, your captain is here! In a matter of one half of play, Celtics forward Paul Pierce has suddenly found his rhythm here in the third quarter as he now leads all scorers with 24 points as the C's maintain a 71-61 lead through three. Pierce also leads the team in assists with eight and has five rebounds to go along with it. That is The Truth.

Chris Wilcox of all people continues what seems to be one of the best performances he's had in the last few years, as he now has 14 points to go along with six rebounds. Wilcox has seen an addition in minutes because of Jermaine O'Neal's absence tonight due to injury. The man Wilcox has been spelling, Brandon Bass, has also turned a solid performance thus far. He's got 10 points and four rebounds at the five position tonight.

Meanwhile, Kevin Garnett's night seems to be getting worse. Through three quarters, KG has only managed five total points, but a manageable seven rebounds. Mickael Pietrus is still stuck on eight points as he is filling in for Ray Allen this evening. Avery Bradley, meanwhile has an unexciting four points and three assists.

On the Pacers side of things, Danny Granger leads Indiana with 15 points from the field. Despite hearing boos from the TD Garden crowd throughout this one, David West has found his game and now has 12 points and six rebounds. Darren Collison checks in with eight points at the point position.

Roy Hibbert, who always seems to torch the Celtics, is being held in check by the Celtics defense. Through three quarters, Hibbert's only got five points and six rebounds.

For more Boston Celtics coverage, visit our team page and blog, Celtics Blog

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Celtics Vs. Pacers Score Update: Replacement Players Carry C's To 42-34 Halftime Lead

If you've ever seen the movie The Replacements with Keanu Reeves in it, just imagine the Washington Sentinels as the Boston Celtics on the court Friday night against the Indiana Pacers; a team that's full of players are filling in for the stars and is doing surprisingly well.

Through the first half of play, the Boston Celtics are doing just that, as they lead the Indiana Pacers, 42-34, at halftime. As for how they ended up in the position they are in, the help is coming from unexpected outlets.

With Ray Allen, Rajon Rondo and Jermaine O'Neal all out of the lineup tonight due to injuries, the Celtics have been forced to play Mickael Pietrus, Avery Bradley and Brandon Bass in their spots. While Bradley has yet to do anything spectacular (two points, one assist), the other two have been a big part as to why the team is leading at halftime.

Pietrus currently has eight points and five rebounds from the floor while Bass has eight points and three rebounds. However, the biggest star of the night for the Celtics has been Chris Wilcox, who continues to lead all scorers with 10 points and six rebounds off the bench. Say what?

After having a dismal first quarter, Paul Pierce did better in the second, as he's got seven points and four rebounds. Meanwhile, Kevin Garnett has yet to do anything, as he is still sitting with just three points and is just one of five from the floor. Marquis Daniels and E'Twaun Moore make up the other four points for the C's

Indiana, meanwhile has struggled to find a rhythm. Danny Granger leads the Pacers with nine points and two rebounds. Paul George and Darren Collison each have six points. The former would be Celtic David West only has four points from the field. Dahntay Jones rounds out the notables with just five points.

For more Boston Celtics coverage, visit our team page and blog, Celtics Blog

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Celtics Vs. Pacers Score Update: Chris Wilcox, C's Lead Pacers 23-17 After First Quarter

Would you ever think that after the first quarter, with the Celtics leading 23-17 over the Pacers, that Chris Wilcox would be leading all scorers with eight points off the bench? Well, you better believe it.

Wilcox, who has struggle all year to both perform effectively and stay healthy, has seemingly found his rhythm in the third tilt of the season against Boston and Indiana. In 10 minutes of play in the first quarter, Wilcox is a perfect four of four from the field in aid of the injured Jermaine O'Neal.

Other notable scorers for the Celtics include Brandon Bass, who started the game in place of O'Neal, with six points and three rebounds and Mickael Pietrus with four points. Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett are a combined two for eleven from the floor with just six points between the two of them.

Meanwhile on Indiana's side of things, Danny Granger leads all Pacers players with seven points. David West, who infamously turned down the Celtics this offseason to sign with Indiana, only has two points in his second trip to a hostile TD Garden.

For more Boston Celtics coverage, visit our team page and blog, Celtics Blog

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Celtics Schedule 2012: C's Look To Stay Hot Versus Pacers and Cavs

After starting the season slow the Boston Celtics are starting to show signs of life. They are 8-9 overall and trail the first place Philadelphia 76ers by 3.5 games in the Atlantic Division but have won three consecutive games including two impressive wins over the Orlando Magic. On Monday they held Orlando to 56 points in a 21 point victory, and two nights later the C's erased a 21 point halftime deficit in Orlando to complete a comeback win on the road.

They look to continue their winning ways this weekend as they host the Indiana Pacers and Cleveland Cavilers. The Pacers are a tough team at 12-5 and coming off perhaps one of the most impressive victories for any team in this young 2011-12 season – a road win in Chicago over the Bulls, the Bulls first home loss of the season.The Cavs are led by rookie point guard, Kyrie Irving.

For more Celtics coverage, visit our blog, CelticsBlog.

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Celtics Vs. Pacers: Boston Looks To Keep Winning Against Indiana

Paul Pierce and the Boston Celtics (8-9) look to build their winning streak to four games when they host Danny Granger and the Indiana Pacers (12-5) at 7:30 p.m. EDT on Friday night at TD Garden in Boston, MA (TV/Radio: CSNNE/WEEI).

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