INDIANAPOLIS (NBA.com exclusive) -- A winning streak was one thing, and considering Indiana's start, a necessary thing. But Danny Granger knew the Pacers needed a quality victory to legitimize it.
Now, they have it.
Granger continued to shake off an early-season shooting slump, and the Pacers (4-3) won their fourth consecutive game, rallying from a nine-point halftime deficit for a 113-104 victory over the Boston Celtics (8-3) in front of a sold-out, emotional 18,165 at Conseco Fieldhouse Saturday night.
"It's huge for us," said Granger, the Pacers' All-Star forward, after leading the Pacers with a game-high 29 points on 8-of-16 shooting, including 6 of 9 from 3-point range. "That's four in a row after losing three in a row. That's a very good Boston team that lost the previous night. Usually, when teams of that caliber lose, they come back ready to play.
"We still beat them them. That's a good game for us."
The Pacers, after losses in their first three games to playoff-contending teams (Miami, Denver and Atlanta), had beaten New York, Golden State and Washington to even their record.
The latter three teams had a combined 6-20 record entering Saturday's games.
"We had beaten three teams that were struggling," Pacers coach Jim O'Brien said. "I said all week, 'We need to get a win over a quality opponent.' The Celtics are every definition of a quality opponent."
The Celtics, shooting a league-high 50.1 percent entering Saturday's games, shot 52.1 percent in the first half, but just 41.2 percent in the second. They finished shooting 47.6 percent from the field.
"We were fresh," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. "It was more us than our legs. They got to every long rebound."
Boston had taken control early by out-rebounding the Pacers, 29-13, in the first half. Indiana entered the game using a smaller lineup with forward/guard Mike Dunleavy, forward Greg Foster and forward Troy Murphy out with injuries.
Indiana responded though, outrebounding Boston 13-7 in the third quarter and narrowing the Celtics' rebounding advantage to just 43-34 by game's end.
After allowing Boston 61 first-half points on 25 of 48 shooting, Indiana rallied with a strong third quarter on both ends to take a 84-79 lead entering the fourth quarter.
Indiana, which had held its previous three opponents to 39.6 percent shooting, held Boston to 7 of 20 shooting (35 percent) in the pivotal third period and made 14 of 22 attempts (63.6) percent). Eight players scored for Indiana in the period, during which the Pacers outscored Boston, 32-18.
"It gave us a lot of momentum that we were able to carry over to the fourth quarter," Pacers guard Brandon Rush said of the third quarter.
Boston quickly retook the lead, 88-86, but with the Celtics denying Granger throughout the second half, the Pacers pushed ahead with a strong fourth quarter from forward Dahntay Jones, who continues to emerge as a surprise offensive threat.
"He's been put in a situation where he's had the ball in his hands more than at any time in the NBA," O'Brien said. "He's growing as an offensive player."
Considered a defensive-oriented player before signing with Indiana in the offseason, Jones finished Saturday with a season-high 25 points, 12 of which came in the fourth quarter.
"Coach kept calling my number, and it kept working," said Jones, who entering Saturday's game averaging 15 points a game. "You have to keep staying aggressive."
Celtics forward Paul Pierce, a game-time decision with a bruised left knee, said afterward he felt as if he hurt the team defensively guarding Jones.
Pacers guard Earl Watson, starting in place of T.J. Ford at point guard, continued to provide a consistent presence, scoring 12 points and doling out seven assists, while center Roy Hibbert had 10 points and guards Brandon Rush and Ford had 10 each. Jones scored 12 points as the Pacers pulled away in the fourth quarter, with Hibbert scoring four in the period and reserve center Solomon Jones also scoring four.
"Danny Granger getting 29 points, you live with that," Celtics center Kendrick Perkins said. "The other guys hit crucial shots at the end. They had more energy. Their transition defense was incredible at times. At the end of the day, they just played harder. Down the stretch, we didn't hold our composure like we should have."
Ray Allen had 24 for Boston, and Pierce and forward Kevin Garnett had 15 each, but it wasn't offense that concerned Boston afterward.
"That's what we live on," Allen said of the Celtics' defense. "To not adjust to what they were doing, it's boggling to my mind."