Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 4)

Series starts 1/17

Game 1: Friday, January 17th
Game 2: Saturday, February 1st
Game 3: Wednesday, February 26th
Game 4: Wednesday, March 19th

Pacers 93

(28-11, 11-10 away)

Celtics 98

(22-17, 14-7 home)

    7:30 PM ET, January 17, 2003

    TD Garden, Boston, MA

    1 2 3 4 T
    IND 23 28 21 2193
    BOS 29 28 22 1998

    Top Performers

    Ind: J. O'Neal 22 Pts, 9 Reb, 2 Ast, 1 Blk

    Bos: A. Walker 31 Pts, 10 Reb, 4 Ast, 1 Blk

    Pierce, Walker score 31 each in victory

    BOSTON (AP) -- Paul Pierce hit the big shots at the end of the game. Reggie Miller didn't.

    Paul Pierce

    Pierce scored 31 points and made two key baskets in the fourth quarter to lead the Boston Celtics to a 98-93 victory over Indiana on Friday night, ending the Pacers' five-game winning streak.

    Boston blew a 14-point lead and fell behind by five, 91-86, before scoring 12 of the game's last 14 points -- stopping Miller twice in the final 30 seconds to win.

    "You know they're going to make a run. They're a good team,'' Pierce said. "What we had to do was make a stand.''

    Al Harrington had 18 points and 14 rebounds, and Jermaine O'Neal had 22 and nine for the Pacers, who had won nine of their previous 11 games.

    Antoine Walker had 31 points and 10 rebounds, scoring his only basket of the fourth quarter on a put-back of a miss by Pierce to tie it at 91 with 2:16 left. Pierce gave Boston the lead again with a high-arcing jumper and then made another jumper over Harrington to make it 95-91 and force the Pacers to take a timeout with 1:14 left.

    "Those two shots were big,'' Harrington said. "I had my hands up in his face. But that's why they pay him the big bucks, cause he makes the big shots.''

    O'Neal scored on a tip-in of Ron Artest's miss to put Indiana within two. But Miller missed a 3-pointer from the top of the arc with 28 seconds left; J.R. Bremer was fouled after getting the rebound, and he made the second free throw to make it 96-93.

    With 10.9 seconds left, Miller couldn't handle a pass and lost the ball out of bounds.

    "It's tough to ever see him with the basketball, but when they need a 3, it's scary,'' Celtics coach Jim O'Brien said. "It was very nice to also see it slip out of his hands there at the end.

    "He's deadly. He's broken a lot of hearts with those 3s towards the end of the game. But it didn't happen tonight.''

    Miller did not score at all on Wednesday, taking just three shots in Indiana's victory over Miami. He never got in a groove against Boston, making just one basket on seven shots, but coach Isiah Thomas wanted him in the game at the end because of his history of making big shots.

    "I'd rather not have to put Reggie in a situation like that all the time,'' Thomas said. "It's a tough situation to live with night in and night out.''

    After Miller's turnover, Pierce got the inbounds pass from Eric Williams under the basket and looped it over his head for the easy layup to make it 98-93.

    The Celtics led 77-63, with 3:23 left in the third quarter. But Indiana went on a 9-2 run to end the third, then scored the first 10 points of the fourth, taking the lead on Ron Mercer's 15-footer before Harrington added a pair of free throws to make it 82-79 with 8:59 to play.

    Game notes

    The Celtics were without their newest signee, Grant Long, who was in Detroit attending to personal matters. ... Boston's Tony Delk played after missing the previous two games with a sprained ankle. Tony Battie was out, and he said he wouldn't practice for the rest of the season to save his sore right knee from wear and tear. ... Kedrick Brown picked up four fouls in 10 minutes in the first half. ... Shammond Williams did not play while healthy -- the first time this season that's happened.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 93 98
    FGM-FGA 30-75 (.400) 40-88 (.455)
    3PM-3PA 2-14 (.143) 10-28 (.357)
    FTM-FTA 31-36 (.861) 8-17 (.471)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 12-44 13-43
    Assists 18 24
    Turnovers 14 11
    Steals 7 3
    Blocks 1 5
    Fast Break Points 3 1
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 16 (2/0) 25 (0/0)

    Top Performers

    Jermaine O'Neal O'Neal
    Points: 22
    Reb: 9
    Ast: 2
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 1
    Antoine Walker Walker
    Points: 31
    Reb: 10
    Ast: 4
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 1