INDIANAPOLIS, May 5 (Ticker) -- Antoine Walker
more than made up for
the absence of Paul Pierce in overtime.
Walker scored five of his 24 points in the extra session,
including a go-ahead 3-pointer, as the Boston Celtics withstood
the ejection of Pierce to edge the Indiana Pacers, 92-89, and
force a seventh game in their Eastern Conference first-round
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"It's one of the best games I've played in on the road. This
was a big game," Walker said. "I told myself to stay in the
game mentally and keep playing, no matter what. Paul has
carried us through this series and I wanted to pick it up for
added 22 points and Pierce added 20, 11 rebounds and
six assists for the Celtics, who host the Pacers in Game 7
on Saturday. Indiana has won twice in Boston in the series.
"We have our backs to the wall, just as they have their backs to
the wall," Celtics coach Doc Rivers
said. "It's good to have
Game 7in our place."
With 27 seconds left in regulation and his team trailing, 84-82,
Pacers guard Anthony Johnson
only could split a pair of free
throws. After the Pacers committed a non-shooting foul to stop
the clock with 13.7 seconds remaining, Jamaal Tinsley
Pierce with 12.9 seconds left.
Pierce, who appeared to be lightly touched in the face by
Tinsley, shoved the guard to the floor and picked up his second
technical of the game, earning an automatic ejection. He took
his uniform top off and waved it at the crowd as he left the
"I lost my cool," said Pierce, who was wearing a bandage across
his jaw after the game. "It almost cost us the game and I'm
happy we got the win. Our guys stepped up for me and now we're
going to Game 7."
"I thought Tinsley was getting away with things all game,"
Rivers said. "And that he made it look bad -- I just think
Tinsley flopped, but the officials called it. But we still got
away with it."
After Reggie Miller
sank the ensuing technical free throw to tie
the game, the Pacers elected to have Celtics reserve Kendrick Perkins
-- who had not played in the contest -- shoot the free
throws intended for Pierce, and he missed them both. But after
a Pacers timeout, Miller airballed a 3-pointer over Walker and
the game went into overtime.
"The play was designed to get Reggie an open shot, or get it
down low to me on the block," Pacers forward Jermaine O'Neal
said. "They switched on defense and I got tangled up with
(Celtics guard Gary) Payton
down low and I fell. That forced
Reggie to take a long shot over a bigger guy."
Walker, who had 11 rebounds, gave the Celtics the lead for good,
89-86, on a 3-pointer with 3:04 left in overtime, and his
step-through jumper opened a 91-87 cushion with 59 seconds to
play. Tinsley halved the deficit with a rainbow jumper 20
seconds later, and Celtics rookie Al Jefferson
missed a rushed
jumper as the shot clock was about to expire, giving the Pacers
a chance to tie or win.
Following a timeout, Johnson inbounded to Miller, who passed to
on the left wing. Jackson nearly lost the ball
before passing to O'Neal in the paint, but the forward's
jump-hook hit the back of the rim and bounced over the backboard
with 1.5 seconds remaining.
"I got a clean shot at it," O'Neal said. "I'd put my money on
that shot almost every single time. Tonight, I couldn't hit it."
Celtics rookie Delonte West
only could split a pair of free
throws with seven-tenths of a second left, but after a timeout,
Johnson badly missed a 3-pointer from the right wing, sending
the series to Boston.
O'Neal collected 26 points and 10 rebounds but made only 6-of-19
shots from the field for the Pacers, who connected on just 36
percent (27-of-75). Miller -- who might have played his last
home game -- scored just 12 points on 3-of-10 shooting.
"It was a tough loss, obviously," O'Neal said. "We would have
loved to win this game but we weren't able to seal the deal. We
have to have a short-term memory and finish the job."
The Pacers scored the first 10 points of the game and led by as
many as 11 points in the first quarter, but the Celtics battled
back and took a 49-43 lead into the break.
Boston led by as many as 10 points late in the third quarter and
by eight with 7½ minutes to play before Indiana made a late
"Obviously, this was one of the weirdest frickin' games I've
ever been involved with," Rivers said. "We were down 10-0 and
fought back. We went up, they fought back. Both teams just
making runs at each other."
"Tough loss," Miller said. "I thought we started the game
great. But after the first eight minutes, it was all Boston's
game. They set the tempo, they got the loose balls, they hit
the shots, and now it's up to a Game 7."