Paul Pierce kept the W just out of reach from the Pacers.
(AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
Well, I asked for a solid, 48-minute effort and the Indiana Pacers delivered. Unfortunately, the Boston Celtics joined the Pacers for the full 48 and made a few more plays to leave Indy with a 104-97 win.
Paul Pierce didn't make his first FG until 5:21 left in the second quarter. But quietly he kept revving up a big game until finally down the stretch in the fourth quarter his game was in full roar and he made sure the Celts didn't dump this game. In the end, Pierce had 28 points, 12 rebounds, 5 asssist, and another MVP-level performance to add to his season.
After a tight first half that went back and forth, the Celtics thre a few haymakers in the third quarter, looking for a quick knockout. At the six minute mark, a Celtics' 11-2 run staggered the Pacers but they stood strong. Marquis Daniels, Kareem Rush, and Shawne Williams came off the bench to boost the Pacers. Rush scored nine third quarter points to keep the Pacers within reach.
Throughout the rest of the game, the Pacers were a step behind, chasing the lead. The score was tied early in the fourth, but Celtics rode a small lead the rest of the way until at the 1:30 mark, Pierce scored on two straight possessions to push the lead to six. The Pacers couldn't find any heroes to cut into the lead and that was the game.
While the Pacers play hard, they did have a few lapses in judgment that lead to some bad turnovers. Protecting the ball is critical agaist the Celtics because they are solid enough defensively as it is. Whether it be Dunleavy, Daniels, or Diener the Pacers tried to split too many double teams and lost the ball, or used some sloppy decision making which turned into poor passes that ended up going the other way. The Pacers need to play extremely well to beat the Celtics and looking at the turnover battle, the Pacers lost 16-10. Not only that, the points off turnovers favored Boston 20-13. Hmm, a seven point difference, just like the final score.