Pacers bounce Celtics

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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – Peja Stojakovic scored 25 points, Jermaine O’Neal had 21 points and 15 rebounds, and the Indiana Pacers beat the Boston Celtics 117-112 on Wednesday night.

Austin Croshere added a season-high 20 points as the Pacers set a season high for points and kept their grip on the sixth spot in the Eastern Conference playoff race.

The Pacers tied a season high with 13 3-pointers and beat the Celtics for the first time in four tries.

Paul Pierce scored 30 points and rookie Gerald Green added a career-high 22 points for Boston, which was eliminated from the playoff race.

Indiana led by double digits through most of the fourth quarter, but a late run brought the Celtics back.

Tony Allen’s layup with 1:14 left cut Indiana’s lead to 115-112, but Anthony Johnson made a layup with 19 seconds remaining to preserve the win.

Boston shot 59 percent from the field, but the Pacers outrebounded the Celtics 42-25. O’Neal added seven assists.

The Pacers shot 6-for-9 from 3-point range in the first quarter to take a 38-33 lead.

Indiana rookie Danny Granger hit a 3-pointer as time expired in the first half to give the Pacers a 64-61 lead. It was Indiana’s highest point total for a half this season.

Pierce scored 14 points in the third quarter, but Granger scored on a lob from Stephen Jackson as time expired in the third quarter to give Indiana a 96-86 lead.

Notes: Green made a desperation shot from just beyond halfcourt as the shot clock wound down early in the fourth quarter. He had two spectacular dunks in the first half. … Indiana guard Fred Jones sat out with a torn ligament in his left thumb. He had played the last three games after missing the previous two. Indiana coach Rick Carlisle said Jones’ injury is more serious than originally thought, and he doesn’t know when, or if, he’ll return this season.

AP-ES-04-12-06 2143EDT

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