Granger leads Pacers past Boston’s Big 3, 87-74By JIMMY GOLEN, AP Sports Writer Friday, Jan 6, 2012
BOSTON (AP)—The Indiana Pacers hadn’t won a game in Boston since the Big 3 was assembled in the summer of 2007. New coach Frank Vogel had an idea how to end the slump.
“We have confidence that we can beat any team in any building,” Vogel said Friday night after the Pacers beat the Celtics 87-74 to snap a seven-game losing streak in Boston. “We knew to win here we’d have to make it like an Eastern Conference playoff-type battle. Just grind it out, have defensive effort.”
Danny Granger had 15 points, and Roy Hibbert scored 11 with 12 rebounds for the Pacers. Indiana shot just 40.5 percent from the field but held the Celtics to 39.4 percent, including a 26.5 percent first half in which Boston tied a franchise low with 25 points.
“Both teams set offense back about 50 years today. It was awful to watch,” Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. “I just thought offensively we were horrible. But I give Indiana a lot of the credit.”
Granger was just 3 for 14 from the field, one game after he went 2 of 13 in Indiana’s 35-point loss to the Miami Heat. But George Hill and Tyler Hansbrough came off the bench to score 13 and 12 points, respectively.
“I feel like things are going great. I’m not worried about my shot,” Granger said. “We are already playing well. We’re only going to be better. … We’re so talented across the board—I’m talking 1 through 8—we have guys that could start on other teams. I’m excited.”
David West grabbed 10 rebounds against the team he jilted as a free agent. The Boston fans booed West, who turned down a chance to play for Boston to sign with the Pacers.
Ray Allen returned after missing one game with an illness and scored 23 points for the Celtics, who for the first time this season lost a game with their starting lineup intact. Paul Pierce, who missed the first three games— all losses—scored 10 points on 3-for-17 shooting.
“He was human,” Rivers said. “I thought he tried to do too much off the bounce, especially early. And then I thought he got frustrated.”
The Pacers scored the last eight points of the first half to open a 33-25 lead. Boston cut it to two points with 8 minutes left in a more wide-open third period, when both teams scored 30.
But it was back to 63-53 right before the final break, and the Celtics got within five points on Allen’s 3-pointer early in the fourth. Boston, however, continued to turn the ball over and miss shots down the stretch.
Notes: Boston C Jermaine O’Neal left briefly in the third quarter to bulk up his padding. … Pacers F-C Jeff Foster played his first game of the season after missing the first six with a sore lower back. … Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo scored 11 points with nine assists. … The Pacers bench outscored Boston’s 33-14. Indiana had a 47-36 edge in rebounds, including 14-7 on the offensive glass. The Pacers also led 42-28 on points in the paint and 19-5 on second-chance points.