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Celtics find win column with home victory over Pacers

BOSTON (AP) -- For one night, everything looked fine with the Boston Celtics.

With Hall of Famer Larry Bird, the Pacers President of basketball operations seated midcourt, Boston ran like his teams of the 1980s, scoring 67 second-half points to coast to a 114-88 win over Indiana on Wednesday night.

The Celtics entered the game off to their worst start since 1978-79 -- the year before Bird started his career in Boston -- but they got 32 points from Paul Pierce and 20 from Wally Szczerbiak for the easy victory.

"We needed the win," Boston coach Doc Rivers said. "Just the win helps them."

Ryan Gomes had 12 points and 12 rebounds for Boston, which won for just the second time in eight games. Kendrick Perkins added 12 points and eight rebounds.

The Celtics held Indiana to 43 points in the second half, and relied on steady pressure from their guards to disrupt Indiana's halfcourt offense.

"We just came apart," Indiana's Al Harrington said. "That's something we can't do. It's disheartening like we don't know what's going on."

It was the second time in four games the Pacers were blown out. They lost 117-91 against Washington last Wednesday.

"Maybe these pieces don't fit together," Indiana coach Rick Carlisle said. "I still think that they can and I still think they do, but you have to bring the commitment, you have to bring unselfishness and you have to bring the passion."

Harrington scored 23 points and Marquis Daniels added 15 for the Pacers, who fell to 4-4.

Boston, which led 47-45 at halftime, opened the third quarter with a 13-1 run. Sebastian Telfair and Pierce keyed the spurt with consecutive 3-pointers, pushing the Celtics' lead to 58-46. The Pacers were held without a basket until Danny Granger's short jumper with 5:34 left in the quarter.

"We won because we played defense,"Rivers said. "Each guy dug down and guarded their guy a lot. We made a few adjustments at halftime and they stuck to it."

Indiana missed it first eight shots of the third while Boston seemed to run its offense flawlessly, with Telfair scoring five points and dishing out four assists. Gomes also had a pair of baskets during the key spurt.

The Celtics, who shot 60 percent (12-for-20) in the quarter, led 80-66 at the break.

"We're not going to have a lot of games where we score 67 points in a half, so we're going to have to rely on defense," Pierce said.

Boston picked up where it left off to start the fourth when Gerald Green made a 3-pointer from the left corner to trigger a 9-0 run. The Pacers missed their initial seven shots and didn't get a basket until a goaltending call nearly 3 1/2 minutes into the quarter.

On this night, the young Celtics weren't about to let the veteran-laiden Pacers make a challenge.

"I like a lot of them, without getting specific," Bird said afterward of Boston's young players.

Game notes
The Pacers had seven blocks in the first quarter, with O'Neal swatting three. ... Boston forward Al Jefferson, sidelined after an appendectomy last Wednesday, said before the game that he hopes to be back next week. ... Celtics forward Brian Scalabrine was greeted with a spattering of boos when he came off the bench in the opening quarter. ... Bird was given a standing ovation when he was shown on the Jumbotron. ... Patriots DE Richard Seymour was seated courtside.

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