Regular Season Series (Game 3 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 69

(37-21, 13-17 away)

Celtics 71

(32-25, 18-10 home)

    Coverage: FSMW

    7:00 PM ET, February 26, 2003

    TD Garden, Boston, MA

    1 2 3 4 T
    IND 14 19 21 1569
    BOS 21 19 15 1671

    Top Performers

    Ind: J. O'Neal 31 Pts, 13 Reb, 2 Ast, 2 Blk

    Bos: T. Delk 14 Pts, 9 Reb, 4 Ast, 2 Stl, 1 Blk

    Pacers fall for sixth straight time as Miller hits air

    BOSTON (AP) -- For the Indiana Pacers, consecutive loss No. 6 ended with an airball by Reggie Miller.

    Walter McCarty

    Walter McCarty hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with 24.9 seconds remaining, and the Boston Celtics extended the Pacers' longest winless streak in 10 years with a 71-69 victory Wednesday night.

    After McCarty's 3-pointer gave Boston a 69-67 lead, Jermaine O'Neal, who led the Pacers with 31 points and 13 rebounds, missed two free throws with 10.2 seconds left. In the final 10 seconds, Paul Pierce and McCarty each converted one free throw before Miller shot an airball at the buzzer despite a wide-open look.

    Miller missed three 3-pointers in the final quarter and had only nine points.

    "We had every opportunity to win this game,'' Miller said. "We made big shots, but when it came to the biggest one, McCarty hit a three and I shot an airball.''

    The last time the Pacers lost six straight was Feb, 1993. They have lost nine of 13 overall.

    "As a league, everyone is kind of struggling,'' Pacers coach Isiah Thomas said. "No one is playing exceptional basketball, but we still believe we're a good team. We are still only a half-game out of first place.''

    Antoine Walker led Boston with 18, Pierce had 16 and Tony Delk added 14 points and nine rebounds.

    "I said before the game, I don't care how many games they have lost in a row,'' Celtics coach Jim O'Brien said. "You are playing one of the best teams in the East, and they have so many weapons that it makes it so difficult to beat them.''

    Ron Artest missed the game for Indiana after being suspended for the third time this season, this time by head coach Isiah Thomas.

    After trailing 54-48 with 2:42 remaining in the third, the Celtics went on an 11-0 run featuring seven points by Pierce. The Pacers went 6:20 without scoring before O'Neal hit a pair of free throws to cut the lead to 59-56. O'Neal's basket with 6:42 remaining in the fourth snapped an eight-minute drought without a field goal.

    Walker's mid-range jumper with 3:17 remaining gave Boston a 38-29 lead, its biggest of the first half. He led all scorers with 11, while Pierce, who was in foul trouble for most of the half, missed his only shot attempt and had 2 at the break.

    After falling behind 10-2, McCarty hit a pair of 3-pointers to cap a 13-0 run with 4:12 remaining in the first. The Pacers had 10 turnovers and shot 25 percent after one, but only trailed 21-14.

    J.R. Bremer made his 21st start for Boston, but was 0-for-7 from the field and is 3-for-20 in the last three games.

    Game notes

    Pierce had only seven points through three quarters. ... The Celtics are 4-3 in their last seven home games. ... O'Neal leads the Eastern Conference with 31 double-doubles. ... Jamaal Tinsley returned to the Pacers lineup after missing one game for personal reasons. ... McCarty has hit 24 of 42 shots in the last five games.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 69 71
    FGM-FGA 25-73 (.342) 26-77 (.338)
    3PM-3PA 4-18 (.222) 6-22 (.273)
    FTM-FTA 15-19 (.789) 13-20 (.650)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 9-50 8-41
    Assists 18 13
    Turnovers 23 15
    Steals 5 12
    Blocks 5 2
    Fast Break Points 3 2
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 24 (0/0) 22 (2/0)

    Top Performers

    Jermaine O'Neal O'Neal
    Points: 31
    Reb: 13
    Ast: 2
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 2
    Tony Delk Delk
    Points: 14
    Reb: 9
    Ast: 4
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 1