Indiana Edge Celtics In Late Rally
Miami Heat are just one win from the second spot within the Eastern Conference. Former leaders Boston lost their fifth game in the past ten on Tuesday night at the Conseco Fieldhouse where Indiana overcame Doc Rivers’s side 107-100.
Boston’s strong start brought the visitors a six-point lead at the end of the first quarter. But the second term found the home side claiming a 14-point advantage which allowed Indiana start the second half with an eight-point lead. Celtics would provide another turnaround in the third quarter, managing to go 12 points adrift and take back a four-point advantage. The last minutes belonged though to the Pacers who propelled through a 26-15 lead that brought them a struggling but well-deserved victory.
Boston were with their Big Trio on the court, but even so Indiana’s late rally brought them their 14th loss on the road. Roy Hibbert had 26 points, four rebounds, two assists and one block, while Danny Granger and Darren Collison came up with 18 points, four assists, three rebounds, three steals and one block, and 17 points, four rebounds, three assists, two steals and one block respectively.
Finally, starters Tyler Hansbrough added just five points and picked four rebounds, while Paul George provided one of the poorest performances of the night, leaving with zero points, two rebounds, one assist and three FGM misses.
Pacers’ bench added 41 points, 15 of which being scored by A.J. Price. Reserves Dahntay Jones and Brandon Rush came up with eight points, each, Josh McRoberts added six, while Jeff Foster scored four points and grabbed seven rebounds in 15 minutes. On coach decision, Mike Dunleavy and James Posey did not play. Among the three-point performers, they were Granger, Price and Rush. They all converted two three-pointers.
On the other side, Boston’s Big Trio added 40 points, Kevin Garnett scoring just six points in 25 minutes. Paul Pierce was the most shaped among the three, finishing the night with 23 points, six rebounds, one assist, one steal and one block. Meanwhile, Ray Allen went for 11 points, five assists, two rebounds and one steal. Finally, Rajon Rondoi came up with the second most points, adding 22 and delivering eight passes.
Reserve Glen Davis also had a great night, scoring 20 points in 36 minute and picking five rebounds. Jeff Green came off the bench to score eight points, while Delonte West, who played just 16 minutes, added three points, delivered two assists and grabbed one rebound. Sasha Pavlovic (2 minutes) left scoreless. Avery Bradley, Carlos Arroyo and injured Troy Murphy did not play.
Said Indiana coach Frank Vogel: “One day, probably when I’m old and gray, I’ll try to figure out what was wrong with us — why we can beat Boston, but lose to Sacramento and Detroit. I can’t figure it out, but we definitely needed this. We’re going to have to figure it out and some point.”
Indiana won their sixth win in the past ten games, going eighth in the East with a 33-42 season record. Boston, by contrast, remain second with 51 wins and 22 losses, but are very close to lose the position on Wednesday when Miami face Cleveland Cavaliers. Pacers will next meet Detroit Pistons, while Boston play Western Conference leaders San Antonio Spurs who are following a four-game losing streak.
Chicago Bulls 85 – 97 Philadelphia 76ers
The Sixers have claimed a precious win on Tuesday night at the United Center, after defeating one of the main favorites for the leader position in the East, Bulls. Philadelphia managed to hold Chicago in a late comeback that propelled the visitors seven points adrift. The 76ers were also helped by their very strong start which brought them an unexpected 14-point lead at the end of the first quarter. Thus, the visitors claimed the opener 27-13 and extended their lead to 16 points after the second one.
The second half found the home side going 11 points ahead of Philadelphia but starting to lose pace once the fourth quarter began. So, the last 12 minutes brought the Sixers a 28-21 lead and a crucial victory that keeps them away from the Knicks danger.
Philadelphia’s collective play found six players score 10+ points with reserve Thaddeus Young going for 21, seven rebounds, four blocks, two assists and two steals and starter Andre Iguodala scoring the second most points, 19. He would also grab seven rebounds, seven assists, two steals and one block.
Elton Brand’s 41-minute performance included 13 points, nine rebounds, three steals and two blocks, while center Spencer Hawes came up with 14 points, four rebounds, one assist, one steal and two blocks. Finally, Jrue Holiday and Jodie Meeks added 12 and eight points respectively.
As for their bench, apart from Young’s 21-pointer, Lou Williams was the only one to score some points. He had ten, plus seven rebounds, seven assists and two steals. Evan Turner (7 minutes) and Marreese Speights (5 minutes) left scoreless, while Andres Nocioni, Jason Kapono and Tony Battie did not play.
On the other side, Derrick Rose was on fire, adding 31 meaningless points. He finished his 42-minute intervention also with five assists, four rebounds, three steals and one block. Meanwhile, center Joakim Hoan had ten points, 13 rebounds, three steals, three blocks and one assist. Luol Deng added the same number of points, picking in the same time nine rebounds, two assists and one block.
Finally, Bulls’ reserves added 14 points. Kyle Korver, Ronnie Brewer and Taj Gibson scored four points, each, while C.J. Watson came off the bench to score two points and deliver three assists. Rasual Butler and Kurt Thomas did not play. Philadelphia will next host Houston Rockets, while the leaders Chicago visit Minnesota on Wednesday.11