Indiana 97, Boston 84

BOSTON, Jan. 10 (AP)-- The Indiana Pacers finally have a three-game winning streak.

Jermaine O'Neal scored 17 of his 23 points in the second half and Jamaal Tinsley added 17 points and 13 assists to help the Indiana Pacers beat the short-handed Boston Celtics 97-84 on Wednesday night.

Danny Granger scored 16 points and Stephen Jackson added 15 for the Pacers, who outscored Boston 45-32 in the second half to win their fifth of six road games. Indiana had won two straight seven times until this stretch.

After Boston used a 14-0 run to pull with four points late in the fourth quarter, the Pacers scored 13 straight to pull away for good.

"It was a great sign that we withheld from going in the tank when those guys made their run,'' said O'Neal, who scored five during that final stretch. "I think it was a great sign, but we still have a lot of work to do to establish ourself as a competitive team.''

Tony Allen scored 19 points for Boston before leaving with an injured left knee with 3:01 remaining in the third quarter.

A few moments after Jackson was called for a foul, Allen went up for a free dunk and landed awkwardly, writhing in pain for several minutes until his teammates carried him off the court.

Allen was taken to New England Baptist Hospital for an MRI.

"This is just terrible,'' Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. "When he came down, you could see his heel jam into the ground and I reacted right away because I could see it, I could feel it."

Rivers said Allen's injury is probably an ACL tear, but the MRI results won't be available until Thursday.

"Everybody sees the player that Tony is, but he's more than that to us,'' Celtics guard Sebastian Telfair said. "Going to see him down was like seeing Superman beat up. It don't feel right.''

Rajon Rondo followed the injury with a free throw to pull Boston to within 68-64, but the Pacers closed the quarter on a 12-2 run to pull away.

O'Neal then scored four straight to open the fourth quarter, pushing Indiana's lead to 82-66.

"(Allen) was playing really well, keeping them in the game,'' Jackson said. "When he got hurt, it kind of slowed them down, killed their momentum and they didn't really have a go-to guy. I wish him the best and from the Pacers to him, we're going to pray for him. We never wish that on nobody.''

Telfair had 15 points and Gerald Green added 14 for the Celtics, who have lost nine of 11.

O'Neal was held to six points on 3-of-6 shooting in the first half as the teams entered the break tied at 52. But he scored eight points in the third quarter to help Indiana outscore Boston 28-14.

The Pacers used third-quarter runs of 9-0 and 8-0 to take control. After Kendrick Perkins' layup put the Celtics up 60-57 with 8:07 left in the third, Al Harrington and Tinsley hit back-to-back 3-pointers to give Indiana the lead for good.

Boston scored 14 straight to pull to within 84-80 with 4:27 left, but Granger responded with a 3-pointer the next time down the floor to start a 13-0 run and avoid another collapse by the Pacers. Indiana was outscored 28-18 in the fourth quarter of a 100-91 loss to Dallas on Jan. 4.

The Pacers will go for four straight against the Mavericks on Friday.

Boston, meanwhile, just hopes to have enough healthy players when they host Toronto on Friday.

Forward Brian Scalabrine left in the second quarter with an injured right knee and didn't return. He also went to New England Baptist Hospital for an MRI.

Before the game, the Celtics announced forward Wally Szczerbiak would miss at least a week because of recurring ankle injuries. Delonte West also sat out with a sore back, joining Paul Pierce and Theo Ratliff on the bench.

Pierce has been out since Dec. 20 with a stress reaction in his left foot, while Ratliff will miss the remainder of the season with a sore back.

"Everybody just seems to be falling like dominoes,'' Green said. "We just got to stick together and keep on playing. Hopefully we get guys back in a couple weeks and we'll get some guys under our belts."

Notes: Boston forward Brian Scalabrine left in the second quarter with an injured right knee and didn't return. ... Harrington was 0-for-4 in the first half and finished with seven points on 1-of-10 shooting. ... The Celtics shot 61 percent from the field, but just 41 percent for the game. The Celtics committed 22 turnovers.


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