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.
shook off the lingering effects of a bruised
right wrist to score 29 points and James Jones
career-high with 22 as the undermanned Pacers posted a 106-96
triumph over the Celtics.
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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
, 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."
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
Boston coach Doc Rivers was not buying into the David vs.
"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."