Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 4)

Series starts 11/11

Game 1: Tuesday, November 11th
Game 2: Friday, January 2nd
Game 3: Saturday, January 31st
Game 4: Friday, March 12th

Celtics 78

(4-3, 2-2 away)

Pacers 76

(6-2, 2-2 home)

Coverage: FSMW

7:00 PM ET, November 11, 2003

Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN

1 2 3 4 T
BOS 18 16 25 1978
IND 26 22 14 1476

Top Performers

Boston: P. Pierce 19 Pts, 6 Reb, 9 Ast, 1 Stl, 1 Blk

Indiana: J. O'Neal 25 Pts, 11 Reb, 1 Stl

Celtics score with 20 seconds left

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Jermaine O'Neal blamed the officials for the Indiana Pacers' loss to the Boston Celtics.

"The fouls they called on me are unbelievable," the Indiana star said after Boston's 78-76 victory Tuesday night.

The Celtics won on Vin Baker's fallaway jumper in the lane with 20 seconds left.

O'Neal blasted the officials for calling three offensive fouls that kept him on the bench much of the second half.

"Do I need to make five or six more All Star games, win an Olympic gold, continue to make All-NBA teams for me to get some respect in the paint?" he asked. "It's frustrating to me."

O'Neal had a dominating first half, scoring 21 points and grabbing nine rebounds to help the Pacers take a 48-34 lead.

But O'Neal went to the bench with 7:22 to play in the third quarter after picking up his fourth foul. He managed just four points and two rebounds in the second half to finish with 25 points and 11 rebounds.

"These refs are taking away my aggressiveness in the post," O'Neal said. "There are guys that are afraid to guard me. I can't be effective if I'm not on the court. Any other player would probably get that (respect), but for some reason, it's not for me."

When asked if he had any theories about why he wasn't getting the calls, O'Neal said, "I don't know. Maybe this market isn't big enough. Maybe they don't like me."

After Baker hit his shot to give Boston a 77-76 lead, O'Neal missed a short jumper with time winding down and Boston's Eric Williams corralled the loose ball to seal the victory.

"Vin really hit a clutch shot," Boston coach Jim O'Brien said. "It's nice to see guys want to shoot the basketball at the end of the game."

Paul Pierce led the Celtics with 19 points, nine assists and six rebounds, and Baker had 12 points and four rebounds.

Indiana lost for the first time in six games to drop to 6-2.

Boston clamped down defensively after falling behind in the first half, forcing bad shots from Indiana, which shot 32 percent in the second half to allow the Celtics back into the game.

"We really tightened up our defense, rebounded the ball and we made it a possession game," Pierce said. "We played a lot tougher basketball in the second half and got the job done."

Raef LaFrentz hit a baseline jumper early in the fourth to give Boston the lead at 63-62. That shot came in the middle of a 9-0 run by Boston to open the quarter that pushed the lead to 68-62, and started a back-and-forth final period.

The Pacers came right back with eight points in a row to take back the lead at 70-68.

The lead would change hands five more times. O'Neal's layup with 37 seconds to play gave Indiana its last lead at 76-75.

Baker followed with his shot and Mike James added a free throw to cap the scoring.

Al Harrington added 17 points and six rebounds for Indiana, which turned the ball over 20 times.

James and Tony Battie each scored 11 points for Boston.

Game notes

Pacers coach Rick Carlisle received a technical foul in the first quarter for arguing a call. Carlisle began his NBA playing career with the Celtics in 1984. He played three seasons in Boston and was teammates with Pacers president Larry Bird and Boston executive director of basketball operations Danny Ainge.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Team Stat Comparison

Points 78 76
FGM-FGA 33-80 (.413) 28-68 (.412)
3PM-3PA 6-13 (.462) 5-11 (.455)
FTM-FTA 6-13 (.462) 15-19 (.789)
Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 14-44 9-42
Assists 24 19
Turnovers 15 20
Steals 10 11
Blocks 5 5
Fast Break Points 3 3
Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 20 (1/0) 18 (2/0)

Top Performers

Paul Pierce Pierce
Points: 19
Reb: 6
Ast: 9
Stl: 1
Blk: 1
Jermaine O'Neal O'Neal
Points: 25
Reb: 11
Ast: 0
Stl: 1
Blk: 0