Celts can’t keep up with Pacers

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BOSTON (AP) – Jermaine O’Neal scored 17 of his 23 points in the second half and Jamaal Tinsley added 17 points and 13 assists to help the Indiana Pacers beat the Boston Celtics 97-84 on Wednesday night.

Danny Granger scored 16 points and Stephen Jackson added 15 for the Pacers, who have won three straight overall and five of six road games.

Tony Allen scored 19 points for Boston before leaving with an injured left knee with 3:01 remaining in the third quarter. A few moments after Jackson was called for a foul, Allen went up for a free dunk and landed awkwardly, writhing in pain for several minutes until his teammates carried him off the court.

Allen was taken to New England Baptist Hospital for an MRI. Sebastian Telfair had 15 points and Gerald Green added 14 for the Celtics, who have lost nine of 11.

O’Neal was held to six points on 3-of-6 shooting in the first half as the teams entered the break tied at 52. But he scored eight points in the third quarter to help Indiana outscore Boston 28-14.

O’Neal then opened the fourth with back-to-back baskets to extend Indiana’s lead to 84-66.

Boston scored 14 straight to pull to within 84-80 with 4:27 left, but Danny Granger hit a 3-pointer the next time down the floor to start a 13-0 run.

Before the game, the Celtics announced forward Wally Szczerbiak would miss at least a week because of recurring ankle injuries. Delonte West also sat out with a sore back, joining Paul Pierce on the bench.

Pierce has been out since Dec. 20 with a stress reaction in his left foot.

The Pacers used third-quarter runs of 9-0 and 8-0 to blow the game open. After Kendrick Perkins’ layup put the Celtics up 60-57 with 8:07 left in the third, Al Harrington and Tinsley hit back-to-back 3-pointers to give Indiana the lead for good.

Notes: Boston forward Brian Scalabrine left in the second quarter with an injured right knee and didn’t return. … Harrington was 0-for-4 in the first half and finished with seven points on 1-of-10 shooting. … The Celtics shot 61 percent from the field, but just 41 percent for the game. The Celtics committed 22 turnovers.

AP-ES-01-10-07 2212EST

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