Regular Season Series (Game 2 of 4)

Series starts 11/11

Game 1: Tuesday, November 11th
Game 2: Friday, January 2nd
Game 3: Saturday, January 31st
Game 4: Friday, March 12th

Pacers 103

(24-10, 12-6 away)

Celtics 90

(16-18, 8-10 home)

    7:30 PM ET, January 2, 2004

    TD Garden, Boston, MA

    1 2 3 4 T
    IND 25 23 25 30103
    BOS 30 24 18 1890

    Top Performers

    Ind: M. World Peace 28 Pts, 5 Reb, 4 Ast, 5 Stl, 1 Blk

    Bos: M. James 15 Pts, 2 Reb, 8 Ast, 1 Stl

    13-0 fourth-quarter run propels Indiana

    BOSTON (AP) -- Ron Artest's problems are behind him for now. So is Indiana's trouble with the Boston Celtics.

    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 nine rebounds.

    "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 lately.

    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 said.

    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.

    Game notes

    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.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 103 90
    FGM-FGA 38-87 (.437) 34-67 (.507)
    3PM-3PA 8-24 (.333) 6-15 (.400)
    FTM-FTA 19-25 (.760) 16-25 (.640)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 18-47 5-34
    Assists 21 17
    Turnovers 16 18
    Steals 10 4
    Blocks 5 8
    Fast Break Points 4 5
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 22 (1/0) 21 (0/0)

    Top Performers

    Metta World Peace World Peace
    Points: 28
    Reb: 5
    Ast: 4
    Stl: 5
    Blk: 1
    Mike James James
    Points: 15
    Reb: 2
    Ast: 8
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 0