Indiana wins series 4-3 (Game 3 of 7)

Indiana wins series 4-3

Game 1: Saturday, April 23rd
Game 2: Monday, April 25th
Game 3: Thursday, April 28th
Game 4: Saturday, April 30th
Game 5: Tuesday, May 3rd
Game 6: Thursday, May 5th
Game 7: Saturday, May 7th

Celtics 76

(45-37, 18-23 away)

Pacers 99

(44-38, 25-16 home)

7:30 PM ET, April 28, 2005

Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN

1 2 3 4 T
BOS 19 19 21 1776
IND 24 31 16 2899

Top Performers

Bos: G. Payton 15 Pts, 8 Reb, 6 Ast, 1 Stl

Ind: R. Miller 33 Pts, 7 Reb, 2 Ast, 1 Stl

Miller leads Indy's 17-3 run in the fourth; Walker ejected

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- This wasn't how Reggie Miller imagined his farewell playoffs.

Miller scored 33 points Thursday night, his most in the postseason in three years, and Indiana pulled away to a 99-76 victory over Boston and a 2-1 lead in their best-of-seven first-round playoff series.

Game 4 will be here Saturday night, and the series will return to Boston on Tuesday.

"I'm trying to be aggressive. ... I'm getting great picks from our big guys," Miller said. "This is somewhat of an out-of-body experience. I'm not supposed to be doing it."

Celtics coach Doc Rivers only wishes that were the case.

"I hate that guy," Rivers said, quickly adding, "No, Reggie's been great. He really has.

"We've got to come up with a better answer for him than we have."

Rivers said earlier this week that Miller, who had 25 points on Monday night, may be getting "sympathy calls" from the officials as he makes his final NBA tour before retiring. The 39-year-old Pacers star had his usual flops, trying to draw fouls as he went up for shots, but it wasn't his theatrics or the officials' kindly treatment that doomed the Celtics.

"We just got our tails kicked," Rivers said. "They were more physical, they were the aggressor. They competed hard, got all the loose balls. This team has been here. If we try to play tit-for-tat and try to think our way through the series, we're not going to do too well. We have the advantage of youth and athleticism, and we have to use that."

Miller hit his first two shots, a big 3-pointer that put Indiana in control in the first quarter and another 3-pointer during a 17-3 run that broke the game open with less than six minutes to go.

"It's playoff basketball. Everyone's trying to one-up each other," Miller said of the "sympathy" comment by Rivers. "I'm just trying to play. Doc obviously has to say whatever he has to say. I wasn't crying after Game 1 when I was 1-for-7. He's a great coach and a great motivator, I understand that, but I'm just trying to play the game."

Miller's second 3-pointer and then a dunk by Stephen Jackson, playing on a painful knee from an injury in Monday night's victory at Boston, gave the Pacers an 83-62 lead. Later, Miller came back for another basket and hit a free throw after an irate Rivers was called for a technical foul.

He also had seven rebounds and two assists and left the game with 2:28 to go amid the familiar chants of "Reg-gie, Reg-gie."

"It's no accident he's gotten better and better over his career," Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said. "At one time, he was strictly a catch-and-shoot player, and he's become a multidimensional player. He's not the guy we go to every time, but we do feature in him in some ways. He's a veteran and he has a knack for getting the ball in the basket."

Jermaine O'Neal, playing with a sore right shoulder and taking a pounding inside almost the whole game, had 21 points, 11 rebounds and three blocked shots. Paul Pierce led Boston with 19 points, Gary Payton finished with 15 and Antoine Walker added 14.

"It's over with," Payton said. "We have to come back and play Saturday. We didn't do a lot of things. They outhustled us. That's a team that's a little more hungry than us right now."

Walker was ejected with two technical fouls, both after hard personals on O'Neal. The second time, with just over four minutes to go, O'Neal also received a technical for shoving Walker, but stayed in the game and hit two more free throws for an 88-65 lead.

"Things happen, people say things," O'Neal said. "I don't take anything personally. You're going to do things that sometimes doesn't sit well with other people. It's part of the game."

Boston tried to keep Indiana from getting easy baskets in transition from the beginning, but the Pacers just kept passing until they found an open player. Sixteen of Indiana's 20 baskets in the first half came off assists, including a pair of left-handed dunks by O'Neal and a fast-break layup by Miller after a steal and feed by James Jones.

Miller was fouled on the play and made the free throw, giving Indiana its first double-digit lead at 37-27.

A free throw by Walker was the only point for the Celtics during a 13-1 Pacers run. A free throw by O'Neal, a steal by Jackson and dunk by O'Neal, two free throws by Miller and another basket by O'Neal pushed Indiana's lead to 44-28 with four minutes left in the half.

Indiana led 55-38 at the break, and Boston cut the lead to seven points before the first technical on Walker. Then Indiana pulled away for good.

Game notes

Miller (2,847 points) passed Robert Parish and Charles Barkley for 20th in NBA playoff career scoring. ... Walker and Jackson squared off -- no punches were thrown -- and received technicals after Walker's first hard foul on O'Neal midway through the third quarter. ... A 3-pointer by Indiana's Fred Jones late in the first period was his first basket in the playoffs. He had shot 0-for-15 since the next-to-last regular-season game.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Team Stat Comparison

Points 76 99
FGM-FGA 31-78 (.397) 32-68 (.471)
3PM-3PA 3-12 (.250) 6-16 (.375)
FTM-FTA 11-17 (.647) 29-38 (.763)
Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 15-39 12-44
Assists 13 23
Turnovers 14 14
Steals 8 6
Blocks 4 9
Fast Break Points 6 9
Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 31 (4/0) 23 (3/0)
Largest Lead 1 25

Top Performers

Gary Payton Payton
Points: 15
Reb: 8
Ast: 6
Stl: 1
Blk: 0
Reggie Miller Miller
Points: 33
Reb: 7
Ast: 2
Stl: 1
Blk: 0