BOSTON, May 3 (Ticker) -- Jermaine O'Neal
and Stephen Jackson
the Indiana Pacers bounce back from a horrendous performance and
move to the brink of the Eastern Conference semifinals.
O'Neal collected 19 points and 10 rebounds and Jackson nailed a
key 3-pointer down the stretch as the Pacers held off the Boston
Celtics, 90-85, to grab a 3-2 lead in their best-of-seven
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Sixth-seeded Indiana allowed third-seeded Boston to shoot 57
percent (42-of-74) from the field in Saturday's 110-79 setback
at Conseco Fieldhouse in Game 4 but limited the Celtics to 45
percent (29-of-64) in this one as the Pacers won here for the
second time in the series.
"We've been through so much this year that it doesn't matter
what happens - we feel like we can win," said O'Neal, whose team
was decimated this season by suspensions and injuries. "We
know how to win in a close series. We feel like we have more
experience then they do. Our backs have been against the wall
all season, every since that day in Detroit."
"Tonight we just wanted it more," Jackson said.
The Pacers held a 69-54 lead after a turnaround jumper by
with 3:41 left in the third quarter before the Celtics
pulled within 70-65 entering the fourth period. Boston got
within two points three times in the final period, including at
82-80 after a spinning leaner by Paul Pierce
with 3:06 to play.
But Jackson, who scored 15 points, countered with a 3-pointer
from the left wing as the shot clock was about to expire with
2:38 left to give the Pacers an 85-80 cushion.
"It wasn't one of my more comfortable shots," Jackson said. "I
went to drive and then I stepped back and created some room.
That was great defense by (Celtics forward) Antoine Walker
I took that shot again, I can't say that I'm going to hit it."
The Celtics cut the deficit to 86-83 on a layup by Marcus Banks
with 28 seconds remaining, but Anthony Johnson
sank a pair of
free throws a second later, and Boston got no closer.
"The little things are hurting us," Pierce said. "Our ball
movement was there, plus our inability to get out on the break
was a big factor, (22) turnovers and our decision-making. Right
now our backs are against the wall and I think this team is
going to respond."
, who had not played since February 23 because of
a badly bruised left foot, started at point guard for Indiana
and had six points and seven assists in 28 minutes.
Pierce scored 27 points and Ricky Davis
added 19 for the
Celtics, who visit Indiana for Game 6 on Thursday.
Walker, who served a one-game suspension in Game 4 for
pushing a referee, had 10 points on 5-of-13 shooting in 31
minutes. He was benched by Celtics coach Doc Rivers
left to play in the third quarter after missing a layup and
committing a pair of turnovers and did not return until the 6:57
mark of the final period.
"The way the game was going, that's a tough decision for a
coach," Walker said. "He decided to go with a smaller unit. In
Game 5 you have to respect that. This series is obviously
not going well for me and all I can do is suck it up and find a
way to help the team win on Thursday night."