Tuesday, March 11, 2014
The Associated Press
INDIANAPOLIS - The Indiana Pacers lost the lead, then lost sight of Jeff Green.
Kevin Garnett found Green alone under the basket for a layup with 0.5 seconds remaining Wednesday night to finish off a fourth-quarter comeback from 14 points down, and the Boston Celtics beat the Pacers, 83-81.
"Happy it went in," Green said. "Great pass by Garnett. Great execution by us. Good draw-up by (Coach) Doc (Rivers). We have found ways to win. The trust is there now. Guys are giving what Doc wants. We are finding a way."
Garnett led the Celtics with 18 points and 10 rebounds, and dragged Boston back after it trailed for most of the final three quarters. Green had 11 points off the bench.
Paul George scored 16 points for the Pacers, who had all five starters in double figures. David West added 11 points and 16 rebounds, and George Hill scored 14 points.
Center Roy Hibbert had his 14th double-double of the season with 12 points and 12 rebounds. Lance Stephenson returned to the starting lineup with Danny Granger back down with a sore knee and chipped in 12 points. West's double-double was also his 14th of the season.
The Celtics' final two baskets came off busted defensive assignments. Avery Bradley was left alone under the basket to make it 81-81 off an assist from Garnett. The same happened on Green's layup.
"We just didn't talk and didn't communicate," George said about the final play.
Jason Terry scored eight of his 10 points in the fourth quarter.
"We got stops, we got easy transition points," Green said. "Guys made some tough shots. Paul (Pierce) made a couple 3s. (Terry) made a 3. Garnett down low. Other guys are stepping up."
The Pacers (38-23) were 4 of 20 in the fourth quarter and didn't score in the last 4:35 after George followed two 3-pointers by Hill and a fast-break dunk with a 3 of his own to put the Pacers up 81-72.
"I just didn't think we had a good rhythm all night," West said. "We thought we did a good job defensively, having them under control. We just weren't able to respond on the offensive end with plays. As a group we just didn't have that rhythm. We were careless with the ball and we just didn't make some plays we were supposed to make."
Stephenson brought the third-quarter energy during a 12-5 run that gave Indiana its biggest lead at 63-49. He pushed the ball for a layup off a steal, got another lay-in off dribble-drive penetration, threw down a one-hand dunk off a baseline feed from West.
The Celtics came out of a timeout with a 6-0 run capped by Pierce's layup. Ian Mahinmi's fadeaway jumper off an offensive rebound gave the Pacers a 68-58 lead heading into the final quarter.
"We were flat tonight and they got into us," Rivers said. "Indiana was great and pushed us around the floor in the first half. I thought we responded well in the second half; we just hang around. That's what we've been doing all year, just hanging around and we stole the game."
Boston tied a season high with its third straight road win. Garnett hit 7 of 10 from the field.
NOTES: Granger's knee hasn't caused him pain while playing, but has been sore afterward and the team doesn't want to push it.