After a crazy week in which he feuded with his coach and was
benched twice, Artest scored 28 points on Friday night and Reggie
Miller hit three 3-pointers during a 13-0 fourth-quarter run to
lead the Pacers to a 103-90 victory over Boston.
Artest also had five steals and helped get Paul Pierce in foul
trouble, limiting him to 18 points in 29 minutes. Pierce also had
"Ron Artest was unbelievable against Paul Pierce," Miller
said. "It was almost like he shadowed him all over the court.
People see that, everyone picks up his game."
Jermaine O'Neal scored 21 points with 13 rebounds for Indiana,
which rallied from a 15-point first-half deficit. The Celtics were
ahead by six at halftime and it was still a six-point game, 66-60,
before the Pacers scored the next nine points, including a
three-point play and another basket by Artest that gave Indiana the
lead for good.
"Ron Artest is one of the finest defensive players in this
league," Boston coach Jim O'Brien said, "as well as one of the
finest players, just period."
Artest argued with coach Rick Carlisle on Saturday night and was
benched for the second half of the game against the New Jersey Nets
for "conduct detrimental to winning." On Monday, Artest slept
through a shootaround and was taken out of the starting lineup
against the Grizzlies; he came off the bench to score 18 points.
On Tuesday, Artest had 18 points and held Cleveland rookie
LeBron James to 2-for-10 shooting in the second half. On Friday,
Carlisle said the problem is behind them.
"I've got a short memory," Carlisle said. "I don't remember
much beyond the last few minutes."
But Miller, for one, remembers what Boston has done to Indiana
The Pacers have the best record in the Eastern Conference
(24-10), but they lost to the Celtics in their previous matchup
this season Nov. 11 on Vin Baker's fallaway jumper with 20 seconds
left. Last year, sixth-seeded Boston knocked the third-seeded
Pacers out of the playoffs in the first round, four games to two.
"It was nice to finally get out of here with a win," Miller
The Pacers led by one at the end of the third, then Austin
Croshere made two free throws and Miller hit a pair of 3s in a row
to make it 81-72. Al Harrington made two free throws, Miller hit
another 3-pointer and, after Mike James scored for Boston, Miller
made a jumper that made it 88-74.
It was 90-80 before Indiana scored nine consecutive points,
capped by Artest's 3-pointer with 4:06 to play.
Celtics forward Jiri Welsch injured his left knee in the fourth
quarter and limped off the court in obvious pain. Welsch was
cutting across the lane when he banged knees with Miller. Welsch
did not return, but O'Brien said he could have.
Celtics F Jumaine Jones bruised his right shoulder in
practice Friday morning when he ran into Baker's pick. Jones did
not play against Indiana, but O'Brien would not rule him out for
Saturday's game against Chicago. ... Ricky Davis made an
under-the-leg windmill dunk -- after the whistle. On the ensuing
inbounds pass, he got the ball and made a much simpler reverse
layup, but that one counted. ... Carlisle was called for a
technical foul for complaining about an out-of-bounds call in the
second quarter. ... Carlisle said F Jonathan Bender, out all season
after left knee surgery, could be back in a couple of weeks. ...
Jamison Brewer went over the press table at the baseline trying for
a steal, apparently kicking a fan in the face on his way. She did
not immediately seek medical attention. ... The Pacers are 8-0 when
Artest and O'Neal score at least 20.