G10 Boston Celtics @ Indiana Pacers 109-111
Cs Fall to 8-2
INDIANAPOLIS There's a hoop next to every silo, the high school tournament means more than statewide elections, and Rick Mount forever will be a local hero.
This is the Hoosier Hoop Holy Land and the natives are desperately seeking respect in the NBA. The young Pacers moved a step closer to that goal last night when Clark Kellogg retrieved a Vern Fleming miss and laid it in off the glass as the buzzer sounded to give Indiana a 111-109 victory over the Celtics .
It was symbolic and just that Indiana won the game on an offensive rebound. The Celtics were statuesque under the boards all night and didn't work hard enough to extend their winning streak to nine games. Indiana had 20 offensive rebounds and outshot the Celtics, 100-82.
"It's fitting that we lost it on one more offensive rebound," said Robert Parish (19 points, 10 rebounds). "I jumped too soon on that last shot, and he (Kellogg) was in the right place at the right time."
"We weren't doing the job boxing out," said K.C. Jones.
"There were a lot of strange bounces and a lot of high bounces," added Bill Walton (16 points). "We certainly mishandled our share of balls off the boards, and the Pacers' motion game makes you do a lot of switching, which gets you off your man. But there's still no reason to give up 20 offensive rebounds."
After scoring 28 of his game-high 33 in the first half, Larry Bird elected to take only six shots in the final two periods. Dennis Johnson, Walton, and Kevin McHale (18 points) pushed Boston's two-point halftime lead to seven (100-93) with six minutes left in the fourth quarter. Then Vern Fleming (13 points) shot the Pacers to within two and Steve Stipanovich (20 points, 14 rebounds) tied it with a baseline drive and basket. Three minutes remained.
With 1:06 left, McHale hit a hook to give the Celts a 107-105 lead and force a Pacers timeout. After the pause, Stipanovich followed his own miss to tie it with 50 seconds left.
The Celtics came right back and regained the lead on a pretty give-and-go by Parish and DJ. When Johnson laid it in, the Pacers called time with 0:36 showing.
Terence Stansbury (16 points) came back and fired one in from out top to tie it with 30 seconds left. The Celts did not call time.
"We had a play all set," said Jones. "The ball just didn't go down."
Bird, 10 for 13 in the first half but only 2 for 6 after intermission, missed his trusty up-fake fallaway from the side with nine seconds left. Stansbury rebounded and Indiana streaked down the floor. Fleming's jump shot came off to the left where Kellogg (21 points) was standing. He put it right back up off the glass as the buzzer sounded.
"I thought the key was that we never gave up," said Pacers coach George Irvine. "When we might have panicked and folded defensively down the stretch, we executed defensively and made some smart plays."
The Pacers could have salted it away in the first half if not for Bird's magical performance. The Celtics came out playing the same lazy game they had played in the final 19 minutes Friday, when the Bullets had trimmed a 28-point deficit to four.
While the Celts were standing around on defense and letting the Pacers grab 11 of the game's first 13 rebounds, Indiana built a nine-point lead. Stansbury scored at will on DJ as Kellogg and Herb Williams (17) went over flatfooted Celts for easy follow-ups.
Meanwhile, Bird's first four shots hit nothing but net and kept the Celts from faling too far behind during their snooze period. He scored 17 in the first period.
Irvine was impressed: "In the first half, Bird played as well as I've ever seen a human being play."
Bird led a 14-3 closing drive at the end of the first and Boston led, 33-31, at the end of one. Bird kept firing from the outer limits and had 26 points with four minutes left in the first half. Who could have known that he was through for the night?
Even after the Celtics jumped to a seven-point lead in the third period, the upstart Pacers were in no mood to fold in front of their sellout (16,904) crowd. Indiana cut it to 89-87 at the three-quarter pole, and took back the night in the fourth.