BOSTON, April 23 (Ticker) --
Boston Celtics playoff novices Marcus Banks
and Al Jefferson
gave the Indiana Pacers a postseason experience
Banks and Jefferson scored eight points apiece in a huge second
quarter as the Celtics stormed to a 102-82 rout of the Pacers in
the opener of their Eastern Conference first-round series.
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The third-seeded Celtics overcame a slow start and blitzed the
sixth-seeded Pacers, leading by as many as 37 points. In its
illustrious history, Boston is 38-3 when winning Game One of a
The Celtics have five players on their roster with no postseason
experience. By contrast, the Pacers have made the playoffs
eight straight years and have a team filled with postseason
mainstays, including Jermaine O'Neal
(51 games), Dale Davis
(108) and Reggie Miller
Banks, a second-year guard, played reserve minutes in last
year's first-round sweep at the hands of the Pacers. Jefferson,
a rookie center right out of high school, was getting his first
taste of the postseason.
But in the second quarter, the youngsters played like poised
veterans and made Indiana look like the inexperienced team. The
Pacers had 11 points with 10 turnovers and were whistled for a
pair of technical fouls.
"We came out full of energy," said Jefferson, who scored all of
his points in the second quarter. "Sometimes, it is not good to
get out to a lead like we had because you tend to relax. We
relaxed a little bit but we got back on track."
"Those young kids can play," Jackson said. "You can't take them
lightly. They come out and played hard, played with a lot of
intensity and they're in the NBA for a reason. You can't sleep
on those kids. You can say what you want about experience, but
it's about playing hard and those kids came out and played hard.
The points showed it."
Meanwhile, the Celtics exploded for 39 points, taking a 57-31
halftime lead. They made 15-of-22 shots as Banks and Jefferson
took turns carrying the offense.
Banks stripped Eddie Gill
in the backcourt and put in a layup
before knocking down 3-pointers on consecutive possessions for a
32-21 lead. Jefferson threw in a couple of hooks and a layup
to push the advantage to 41-24 with 6:20 to go.
"Al down on the post, he was significant," Celtics coach Doc Rivers
said. "He was very difficult for them to handle and it
gave us another option."
"This is probably 80-to-90 games for him and after a while that
rookie stuff, you just throw it out the window and play
basketball," said Banks, who scored 11 points. "He's been
playing for 17 or 18 years, there's no need to be nervous now."
After six turnovers in a four-minute stretch, Indiana unraveled.
Coach Rick Carlisle
and Miller were hit with technicals less
than a minute apart and the deficit grew to 25 points.
"They showed the kind of team that they certainly can be,"
Carlisle said. "They are a legitimate team and they are able to
play well in the playoffs because they have developed their
In the first half, Banks and Jefferson combined for 16 points on
6-of-7 shooting while O'Neal and Miller combined for nine on
3-of-12, committing five turnovers.
"That was a demolition," Carlisle said. "I thought we played a
good first quarter but then it went down really quickly in the
also provided a lift with 21 points on 8-of-9
shooting, including 5-of-5 from the arc. That more than offset
a poor game from All-Star Paul Pierce, who missed his first nine
"I think both those guys (Banks and Jefferson) deserve credit
for that second quarter run," LaFrentz said. "They came in with
great energy, hit two, three or four big shots and then started
to feed Al down low. Al Jefferson, in his own right down on
the block, is a load to handle."
The Celtics held a 76-39 lead midway through the third quarter
and led by at least 18 points thereafter. That gave plenty of
playoff experience to rookies Delonte West
and Justin Reed
second-year forward Kendrick Perkins
as Rivers emptied his bench
in the final period.
scored 14 points, Antoine Walker
and Ricky Davis
added 13 apiece and Pierce had 12 for Boston, which shot 51
percent (38-of-74) despite missing 12 of its first 13 shots.
scored 25 points for the Pacers, who get another
chance here in Game 2 on Monday.
"We were out of character tonight in the second quarter," O'Neal
said. "We made some plays that normally we don't make. We
tried to rush things and get the lead back and that just (led)
to a bigger deficit. We will have a better showing come Monday,
I can promise you that."