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Pacers Links: Reserve bigs, defense push Pacers past Celtics

The Pacers leaned on their role players off the bench to make a big impact in their win over the Celtics on Tuesday night.

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Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Pacers gave up 59 points in the second half, but Paul George is correct when he pointed to his team's effort to guard down the stretch making the difference in the 103-98 win.

"We played great defense and that turned into some easy offense for us," George said.

The Pacers were up just three points, 84-81, with 4:30 left in the game but were able to get enough stops to keep the Celtics stuck on 81 for nearly three minutes. The Pacers missed a few scoring opportunities themselves, but eventually both Jordan Hill and Lavoy Allen scored buckets to create some separation and when Paul George drained a corner three out of a timeout with about two minutes to play, the Pacers had a 10-point lead that would prove insurmountable.

Big buckets from the reserve big-man tandem of JHill and Lavoy made Frank Vogel look smart for riding his reserves through the end of the game instead of returning to starters Ian Mahinmi and Myles Turner. Unlike the rest of the playing rotation, the big men have been relatively healthy of late which gives them and Vogel a better feel for how they are playing and what combos are working.

The win gave the Pacers a strong start to a five-game homestand that has Toronto and Oklahoma City showing up at the Fieldhouse next. Both teams will be a bear but the remaining schedule should keep the Pacers battling from prime playoff positioning until the end of the regular season. The Pacers are in seventh place in the East but now just three games behind third place Boston and Miami. Beating the Celtics secured the tie breaker for the Pacers so the opportunity is there for a move up by the blue and gold.

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Check out the links:

Game Rewind: Pacers 103, Celtics 98 | Indiana Pacers

Schedule Comes Gift-Wrapped for Pacers | Indiana Pacers

Insider: Pacers earn win with toughness

Opportunity knocking, will Pacers answer? | WFNI ESPN 1070 the Fan | Indy's SportsCenter

Celtics suffer setback in loss to Pacers | Boston Herald

How Jae Crowder’s injury changes things for the Celtics - Celtics -

Pacers finish strong, beat Celtics 103-98 - AP

Pacers final score: Pacers top Celtics 103-98 - Indy Cornrows

Post Game Grades: Pacers Pick Up Big Win Against Boston

After overdoing it on Monday, Ty Lawson ‘hopeful’ to return Thursday | Vigilant Sports Why the Pacers have a GREAT shot at improvin' their playoff standings! "School Bus"