Since the Celtics’ 11-game winning streak was snapped two games ago, Doc Rivers’ crew has wasted no time in starting up another as they topped the Pacers 103-94 at the Garden on Tuesday for their second victory in a row.
The C’s did so without All-Star forward Kevin Garnett, who sat out the physical, back-and-forth battle with a bruised right thigh. Without the Big Ticket, the C’s dug themselves an early hole, but stormed out in the second half and outscored Indiana 35-20 in the third quarter.
Boston overcame a dreadful day from the field as they shot just .380 (30-for-79) but came away with 15 steals and turned the ball over just 10 times compared to Indiana’s 19 turnovers.
Celtics 103, Pacers 94
TD Garden, Boston, Mass.
Dec. 22, 2009
Headliner: Ray Allen led the C’s with 23 points and added seven boards. The guard was a perfect 9-for-9 from the free-throw line and added 15 of his 23 points in the second half.
Unsung Hero: C’s big man Kendrick Perkins chipped in with 19 points while adding eight rebounds and four blocked shots down low. Rasheed Wallace filled in for Kevin Garnett, who was nursing a leg injury, and finished with nine points and 13 rebounds while Paul Pierce kicked things up a notch in the second half to finish with 21 points, six boards and five steals.
Indiana’s Troy Murphy drained 24 points to go with 18 boards in the defeat
Scrub: Earl Watson was held without a point in the entire second half after dropping 18 points in the first half and committed a team-high five turnovers.
Turning Point: Down 66-54 halfway through the third quarter, the Celtics went on a 12-0 run to bring the crowd back into the game. The run was highlighted by a Ray Allen 3-pointer that gave the C’s the 67-66 lead.
Up Next: The C’s have two days off before their much-anticipated battle with the Magic on Christmas Day in Orlando.
The Magic trail the first-place C’s by one game in the Eastern Conference but are nearly unstoppable at home as they have put up an 11-2 mark in their own building this season.
The Celtics fell to the Magic back on Nov. 20 in the Sunshine State by a score of 83-78. Vince Carter led the way with a game-high 26 points while Dwight Howard was held to just nine points but pulled down 15 boards.
Orlando takes on the Rockets on Wednesday night at home before hosting the C’s in the first game of ABC’s NBA doubleheader on Christmas Day at 2:30 p.m. ET.
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