BOSTON, April 23 (Ticker) -- The Indiana Pacers can thank Al Harrington and Jonathan Bender for helping wipe out a Boston playoff hex in a big way.

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Harrington and Bender each scored 19 points off the bench as the Pacers rolled to a 108-85 rout of the Boston Celtics and a 3-0 lead in their Eastern Conference first-round series.

Indiana had lost six straight playoff games in Boston, including all three in last year's first-round defeat. But the top-seeded Pacers are in a different class than the eighth-seeded Celtics this season and demonstrated that the site does not matter in this matchup, handing Boston the worst home playoff loss in its storied history.

Ron Artest scored 15 points as the Pacers moved to within a game of sweeping.
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"We have a lot of respect for Boston," Indiana coach Rick Carlisle said. "They came out and played hard today, we just played better. We played one of our better games. We're going to have to continue to do that."

Bender scored eight points in a 19-2 tear in the second quarter that built a 48-28 cushion with 3:59 left. The period also provided a showcase for Harrington, who scored 10 points on 5-of-7 shooting.

"Once we turn our defense on and decide we are going to do it, the offense just steps in," Bender said. "Once we shut them down on their end, then we aren't trading baskets and we can take over the game."

Boston's Paul Pierce made just 4-of-17 shots and scored nine points -- the lowest playoff total in his career.

"They are a much more talented team than us," Pierce admitted. "They are well-coached and (when) you don't really have everyone on the same page and at a consistent level, it really gets exposed in the playoffs. They are just showing our youth (and) immaturity."

The Pacers led by as many as 26 points in the fourth quarter, controlling the mismatch in every aspect. The big efforts by the reserves allowed Indiana to limit the minutes of All-Star forwards Jermaine O'Neal and Ron Artest.

"These are the nights where it's a little hard because you played a very talented team and they have a way of making you look bad," Celtics coach John Carroll said. "It's very embarrassing, but give them all the credit. They just gave us a kind of an old-fashioned butt-kicking."

The Pacers will try to wrap up just the second four-game sweep in team history on Sunday afternoon in Boston.

"It means a great deal, but we've still got to come out in Game Four and close it off," Bender said. "That's the main thing we are looking at right now, not getting lackadaisical and just come in Sunday and take it."