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NBA Playoff Game Summary - Indiana at Boston

(Thursday, April 24th)

Final Score: Boston 101, Indiana 83

Boston, MA (Sports Network) - Paul Pierce led six Celtic players in double figures with 21 points, as Boston cruised to a 101-83 win over Indiana in Game 3 of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series at FleetCenter.

The Celtics lead the best-of-seven matchup, 2-1, with Game 4 scheduled for Sunday in Boston.

Antoine Walker added 17 points and Walter McCarty and Tony Delk each had 14 for the Celtics, who have beaten Indiana in the previous two first-round playoff meetings between the teams. Tony Battie and Eric Williams each chipped in 12 points for Boston, which has won six straight home games against the Pacers, including both regular-season meetings.

"We played an inspired game of basketball and it's going to take those types of efforts to get a team like Indiana out of the playoffs," Celtics coach Jim O'Brien said. "We played both ends of the court and we played it for four quarters and I was very pleased with what we put out there tonight."

Jermaine O'Neal had 21 points and 16 rebounds, following up his 23-point, 20- rebound performance in Indiana's Game 2 victory. Ron Artest had 20 points and eight rebounds before being ejected after picking up his second technical foul of the game with 2:40 to play.

"We've still got to win one game at the FleetCenter and we've got that chance on Sunday," explained Pacers center Brad Miller.

The Celtics set the tone early and led almost the entire way. Indiana led only twice in the contest, the last time at 44-43 with 46.4 to play in the first half.

Boston grabbed a 19-7 advantage early in the contest. Battie's two free throws gave Boston the 12-point advantage with 4:47 left in the first quarter.

The Celtics added to the lead after Battie dove for a loose ball and dished the ball off to Walker, who swished a three-pointer as time expired in the quarter. The Celtics finished off the opening period on a 6-0 run and built a 31-15 cushion after 12 minutes.

Indiana hit only 6-of-25 shots in the first quarter, while Boston made 10 of its 17 attempts. The Celtics were able to build the 16-point cushion for the most part without Pierce, who picked up two quick fouls and was sent to the bench with 9:10 left in the period.

Early in the second quarter O'Neal was pulled down on a layup attempt by Mark Blount. The referees quickly signaled a flagrant foul, but Artest also picked up a technical for pushing Blount as the Pacers were visibly upset with the hard foul.

"You just have to understand that that is the way playoff basketball is," Pierce stated. "Last year versus Philly, it was a physical series. Indiana is a big team that is physical and there is going to be a lot of contact with guys going to the hoop with a lot of big bodies, so you have to expect that guys are going to get knocked down and there are not going to be any easy points."

The incident seemed to wake up the Pacers, who followed with a 26-9 run. Artest capped off the spurt with a baseline jumper to give the Pacers their first lead of the game at 42-41 with 1:32 left in the half.

Delk made three free throws with 0.2 seconds to play in the half and Boston was able to go into the locker room with a 48-44 advantage. O'Neal led all scorers with 16 points at the break, while Walker, Battie and Williams each had 10 for the Celtics.

Boston quickly rebuilt its lead back up to 11 after a 9-4 spurt to start the third. Walker's three-pointer 3:48 into the quarter capped the run.

A 10-0 run gave the Celtics an 18-point cushion with 38.1 seconds left in the third quarter. McCarty scored the first five points of the spurt to help Boston build a 75-57 lead. Artest closed out the third period scoring with a free throw.

The Pacers made just 2-of-15 shots in the third quarter and were outscored by a 27-14 margin.

Pierce's jumper with just under 10 minutes to play made it a 20-point game at 80-60. The Pacers were never able to make a run in the final quarter and Boston cruised to the easy victory.

Indiana did not make a field goal in the fourth until Erick Strickland hit a jumper with 4:07 left to play. Strickland's field goal was the Pacers' first in more than 14 minutes stretching back to midway through the third when Ron Mercer made a jumper.

"I never thought that we would shoot the ball this poorly," explained Pacers head coach Isiah Thomas. "They [Pacers] had good looks and we just didn't knock shots down. I thought there was an opportunity in the game where we had a little momentum going and we had a couple of open looks. We didn't knock those shots down and they came back down and they scored."

Game Notes

Blount was ejected from the game for a Flagrant 2 foul for throwing O'Neal to the ground...Williams also picked up a flagrant foul in the third quarter...Artest (two), Jamal Tinsley and Brad Miller all earned technical fouls in the game for Indiana...Pierce hit his first field goal, a jumper in the second quarter, to record his first basket in almost 36 minutes of play dating back to the third quarter of Game 2...This was Reggie Miller's first- ever playoff game without a field goal...Boston hit 45 percent of its shots, while Indiana managed to make just 33 percent of its attempts...Boston is now 18-2 when scoring 100 or more points this season.

04/24 23:56:26 ET

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