Going into their match-up Friday night, the Celtics had already lost to the Pacers twice in this lockout-shortened season. This game would be the third time this month that these teams would meet. On January 6th, in Boston, the Pacers won 87-74. On January 16th, in Indiana, the Pacers came out ahead again, winning 97-83. This time, the teams would return to Boston, with the Pacers attempting to make the third game a charm.
The Celtics did not let Indiana’s win streak continue. Even without starting players Ray Allen, Rajon Rondo, and former Pacer, Jermaine O’Neal, Boston led by double digits throughout most of the game. The Celtics had five players in double figure scoring, and held off a late Indiana push, to win 94-87. Paul Pierce led the game, with 28 points, 10 rebounds, and eight assists. Pierce scored 17 points in the third quarter alone.
Coming into the game Friday, Indiana had won three straight on the road, and seven of 11 road games this season. Roy Hibbert, who had his nose broken last week, suffered a sprained ankle during the game. Hibbert returned to the court, but shot only 5-13 from the field, and scored 11 points. Indiana shot 30-31 from the free throw line, but only 1-19 from the three-point line.
The Pacers travel to Orlando on Sunday, trying to avenge a miserable 102-83 loss in Indiana earlier this week. They have three of their next four games on the road.