INDIANAPOLIS, Nov. 23 (Ticker) -- While all the talk centered around who the Indiana Pacers had lost, it was a player who made his return that was the difference against the Boston Celtics.

Jamaal Tinsley shook off the lingering effects of a bruised right wrist to score 29 points and James Jones established a career-high with 22 as the undermanned Pacers posted a 106-96 triumph over the Celtics.

NBA TV highlights from
Tinsley missed Indiana's last game with the injury and was listed as day-to-day. But with the Pacers down to eight eligible players following the suspensions of Jermaine O'Neal, Ron Artest, Stephen Jackson and Anthony Johnson, the Indiana point guard gritted it out.

It would be hard to convince Boston that Tinsley had anything wrong with him as he came within a point of matching his previous career best of 30 points, set against Orlando on March 5, 2002. He made 11-of-19 shots from the field, had six assists and four steals as the Pacers won for the 14th time in 17 home meetings with the Celtics.

"I wanted to go out there and run the offense, even though my hand still hurt" Tinsley said. "I was able to come out and knock down a couple of shots early and I got my confidence up.

"We know that we are going to be missing some key players for a while and some other guys are going to have to make the most of their opportunities. ... Effort was the key and it's going to be the key as we go through this rough stretch."

Jones had six of his points in the fourth quarter as Indiana used a 16-6 burst midway through the period to seize control of the contest. Jones' 3-pointer with 3:02 to go capped the spurt.

"This was a statement game," said Jones, whose previous best point total was 12 - in Indiana's last game Saturday. "More so for us than for other teams in the league."

Indiana is 7-2 against the Eastern Conference this season.

"We came out with the same goals that this team has set from day one: to win games and take it one game at a time," Jones said. "We just want to continue to play good, hard basketball and continue to have our fan's support."

Paul Pierce scored 20 points and Ricky Davis added 15 for Boston, which kicked off a stretch of four road contests in its next five games.

Indiana was 31-of-34 from the line in the contest, including making all 24 of its free throws in the second half. The Pacers also held a 45-33 edge on the boards.

With its stars sidelined, the Pacers have banned together in an attempt to overcome adversity.

"The silver lining to this is that we get some time to develop and to establish ourselves," Jones added. "With every adversity, there comes opportunity. We'll have a chance to get better and, come playoff time, the coaches will know we can get it done."

Boston coach Doc Rivers was not buying into the David vs. Goliath mentality.

"The key tonight was effort," he said. "When your talent is better, you should never lose a game. One thing I've been talking about all year is mental toughness. We got an early lead and thought we were just going to blow them out, and you can't do that.

"Before the game, we ran down a checklist and we had better talent, skill ... down the list we were better. What we needed to do was play better and have bigger hearts. That didn't happen and I'll take the blame."

Pierce had six of Boston's 16 turnovers - six of which came in the final quarter.

"Tonight, we were our own worst enemy," Pierce said. "I don't know if we took them for granted. They out-executed us and we got frustrated and lost focus. They did what they had to do to get the win. To me, it's one of the toughest losses I've ever been associated with. ... It's very difficult to take."