Boston wins series 4-2 (Game 3 of 6)

Boston wins series 4-2

Game 1: Saturday, April 19th
Game 2: Monday, April 21st
Game 3: Thursday, April 24th
Game 4: Sunday, April 27th
Game 5: Tuesday, April 29th
Game 6: Thursday, May 1st

Pacers 83

(48-34, 16-25 away)

Celtics 101

(44-38, 25-16 home)

    6:00 PM ET, April 24, 2003

    TD Garden, Boston, MA

    1 2 3 4 T
    IND 15 29 14 2583
    BOS 31 17 27 26101

    Top Performers

    Ind: J. O'Neal 21 Pts, 16 Reb, 1 Stl, 3 Blk

    Bos: P. Pierce 21 Pts, 12 Reb, 5 Ast, 2 Stl

    Blount, Artest ejected in separate incidents

    BOSTON (AP) -- The Boston Celtics got in the best shots and the Indiana Pacers kept missing as their physical series got rougher.

    Paul Pierce

    Amid a flurry of flagrant and technical fouls, Boston won 101-83 Thursday night for a 2-1 series lead as Paul Pierce's 21 points led six Celtics in double figures.

    The Pacers' second-half shots kept clanging off the rim as they went without a field goal for a span of 14 minutes, 19 seconds. For the game, Reggie Miller went 0-for-7 and finished with five points.

    "We just did a good job defensively,'' Antoine Walker said. "They were known throughout the season as being very physical. We're just trying to rise to the challenge.''

    Game 4 of the best-of-seven series is Sunday in Boston, where the Celtics are 44-17 against the Pacers.

    "If we get those same shots Sunday, I think we'll have a different story,'' Indiana coach Isiah Thomas said.

    The Pacers went 8-for-31 after intermission, and had just two field goals in the second half until Erick Strickland scored with 4:09 left in the game. That drought enabled Boston to increase a 48-44 halftime lead to 75-58 going into the fourth quarter.

    Jermaine O'Neal led Indiana with 21 points and 16 rebounds. In the second half, he missed the only shot he took, while Miller went 0-for 5.

    "I should have shot it more,'' said Miller, who was open for most of his attempts. "It doesn't matter how many I take. It's how many I make.''

    He wasn't involved in the physical play that resulted in Boston's Mark Blount and Indiana's Ron Artest being ejected in separate incidents, two flagrant fouls against the Celtics and five technicals against the Pacers.

    In Game 1, Tony Battie, the Celtics' starting center, was ejected for a flagrant-2 foul against Artest.

    "That's the way playoff basketball is,'' Pierce said. "The team that can keep their composure ... is the team that's going to prevail.''

    Pierce had 12 rebounds and five assists despite playing only 33 minutes because of foul trouble. Walker had 17 points and Walter McCarty and Tony Delk had 14 each.

    McCarty also played exceptional defense on O'Neal.

    "I was just trying to front O'Neal to keep him from getting the ball,'' he said. "If he doesn't get the ball, he can't hurt us.''

    Artest had 20 points and Ron Mercer added 12 for Indiana.

    "Sunday is a must win,'' Artest said. "I don't think they are a very physical team, but they play hard.''

    Boston extended its four-point halftime lead to 53-44 on a layup by Williams and a 3-pointer by Pierce. It was 65-57 before Boston scored the next 10 points.

    McCarty hit a 3-pointer and a dunk, J.R. Bremer made a 3-pointer and Battie sank a layup. That made it 75-57, and Boston's lead ranged from 16 to 24 the rest of the way.

    "The second half, we usually get off to slow starts,'' Walker said. "We've got to start to be the aggressor.''

    Blount received an automatic ejection for a flagrant-2 foul in the second quarter, and Artest was ejected when he picked up his second technical with 2:40 left in the game after a hard foul on Pierce.

    Indiana's first technical was against Artest after he shoved Blount when the flagrant-2 foul was called. Jamaal Tinsley got one for remarks to a referee, and Brad Miller got one for throwing the ball in the air after being called for a foul. The Pacers got their fifth technical for a defensive 3-second violation.

    Blount's flagrant-2 foul was committed against O'Neal. Blount blocked his shot under the basket and knocked him to the floor with 1:19 gone in the second quarter.

    With 3:15 left in the third, Eric Williams was given a flagrant-1 foul against Jonathan Bender, who remained on his feet.

    Game notes

    Artest stayed in the game after banging his face on the floor diving for a ball in the first quarter. ... Celtics president Red Auerbach and former stars Bill Russell, Robert Parish, Dave Cowens and JoJo White attended. ... In an apparent effort to get a better start offensively, Celtics coach Jim O'Brien started McCarty at forward in place of Williams. McCarty started eight games during the regular season. Williams started 79 and the first two in the playoffs.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 83 101
    FGM-FGA 26-80 (.325) 34-75 (.453)
    3PM-3PA 4-13 (.308) 9-23 (.391)
    FTM-FTA 27-36 (.750) 24-28 (.857)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 14-47 5-42
    Assists 19 25
    Turnovers 14 16
    Steals 8 7
    Blocks 5 3
    Fast Break Points 2 2
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 22 (5/0) 28 (0/2)

    Top Performers

    Jermaine O'Neal O'Neal
    Points: 21
    Reb: 16
    Ast: 0
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 3
    Paul Pierce Pierce
    Points: 21
    Reb: 12
    Ast: 5
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 0