By Conrad Brunner
Roy Hibbert scored 26 points and Darren Collison scored eight of his 17 in the final 5 minutes as the Pacers took control down the stretch to beat the Boston Celtics 107-100 Monday before a raucous crowd of 15,932 in Conseco Fieldhouse.
In their last four home games, the Pacers have beaten three playoff teams -- the Celtics, Bulls and Knicks.
Indiana held Boston to 4-of-14 shooting in the fourth quarter and the Celtics also missed half their 12 free-throw attempts.
Paul Pierce scored 23, Rajon Rondo 22 and Glen Davis 20 for Boston.
The Pacers snapped a two-game losing streak and improved to 33-42 overall, 20-16 at home. Indiana's magic number for clinching a playoff spot was reduced to seven, and Charlotte's 87-86 victory over Milwaukee reduced the magic number for eliminating the Bucks to six. Charlotte (31-42) remains one game behind the Pacers while the Bucks (29-44) fell three games back. Boston (51-22) lost for the third time in four games but remained two games behind Chicago in the battle for the top spot in the East.
- "Our guys are keeping their eyes on the prize." -- Vogel
- "Our guys didnt force. We played unselfish basketball, which you have to do against Boston. You shoot that well when you play unselfish and move the basketball." -- Vogel
- "We wanted to come out, play tough and not only stay with a good team but to beat a good team. We wanted to show people how much we have improved and that we are able to play well together and get the job done. This was a great team win and hopefully a warm-up for the playoffs. Were not there yet, but were very close." -- A.J. Price
- "We got out there and gutted it out, played hard when we had to, looked for the open person and got the ball to them. This is one of the big ones that we got and did not let get away." -- Collison
- "My shots were falling tonight and I just kept moving my feet which helped me get open. We must continue to work with each other on defense and help each other out and try to shed this Doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde image." -- Hibbert
STAT OF THE GAME
The Pacers overcame a double-digit deficit to win for the third time in their last five games. They had done so just twice in the first 70 games.
With Rajon Rondo scoring 12 points in the first quarter, the Celtics jumped out to a 33-23 lead but the second unit came in with high energy and put together a 19-4 run, with A.J. Price scoring seven and Brandon Rush six, to put the Pacers up 42-37.
The starters came on to close the half 12-4 and the Pacers were up 57-49 at the break. Boston tried to take control in the third quarter as Pierce, Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett combined for 14 in a 22-6 run that put Boston in front 79-73.
Indiana did not wilt, however, hanging around into the middle minutes of the fourth quarter. The game was tied 94-all with less than six minutes left when Collison stepped forward, hitting a jumper and punctuating a steal with a two-handed dunk that put the Pacers up 100-94.
After Boston closed to 102-97, Collison hit a jumper and followed a Pierce 3-pointer by driving past Rondo for a layup to close the door, putting the Pacers up 106-100 with 34 seconds left.
BY THE NUMBERS
Hibbert shot 12-of-17 for his 26 points, adding four rebounds. Danny Granger scored 18 with four assists, and three steals. Collison made 8-of-9 shots for his 17, adding four rebounds, three assists and two steals. Price had 15 points and three assists off the bench. Indiana got 41 points and 19 rebounds from the reserves. As a team, the Pacers shot .545 overall after failing to hit better than .375 in their first three meetings with the Celtics.
Pierce shot 8-of-13 for his 23 points, adding six rebounds. Rondo was 9-of-13, adding eight assists to his 22 points. Davis was 7-of-11 and had five rebounds along with his 20 points. Allen finished with 11 points and five assists. The starting front line of Garnett and Nenad Krstic totaled 13 points, eight rebounds and nine fouls. The Celtics shot .548 overall.
- With 107 points tonight, the Pacers scored more than 88 points for the first time in four games with Boston.
- Boston's 29 rebounds included just three offensive rebounds, the fewest by a Pacers' opponent this season.
- The Celtics had just five second chance points, while Indiana scored 16 points from its eight offensive rebounds.
- Hibbert's 12 field goals tonight tied his career-high. He has made 12 field goals three times this season.
- The Pacers are now 10-3 this season when making at least half their shots.
- The only division against which the Pacers have a record above .500, the Pacers are now 10-7 vs. the Atlantic Division. They are 6-2 at Conseco Fieldhouse vs. the Atlantic.
The homestand continues Wednesday as the Detroit Pistons visit Conseco Fieldhouse for a rematch (7 p.m., Fox Sports Indiana, WIBC 93 FM). The Pacers lost 100-88 in Detroit on Saturday night. Tickets: Buy now | College night | Kroger Plus Night