Thomas Scores 28, Celtics Beat Pacers 103-94
BOSTON -- The Boston Celtics literally stole a game Wednesday night.
Forwards Jae Crowder and Amir Johnson, guard Marcus Smart and Crowder again all scored off steals in a 1:40 span late in the fourth quarter, and the Celtics ended on a 12-0 run and snapped a four-game losing streak with a 103-94 victory over the Indiana Pacers.
The Celtics (20-19) blew an 11-point, third-quarter lead and then rallied from four points down late, finishing with a flourish. They trailed by three when the parade of swipes began. Boston had three steals in the game before the four in the final 2:40.
The Pacers, who had won three of their previous four, didn't score for the final 2:15.
Guard Isaiah Thomas iced the game with a driving lay-in and four free throws, finishing with 28 points. He is averaging 32.3 points in the past three games.
Crowder scored 19 of his 25 points in the first half. Johnson had 14 points, a season-high 18 rebounds and six assists, and guard Avery Bradley contributed 11 points and six assists in the win.
After forward Paul George scored 17 of his 23 points in the third quarter, center Jordan Hill and guard George Hill combined to score Indiana's first 10 points of the fourth quarter. George Hill finished with 13 points, and Jordan Hill had 10 points and eight rebounds.
The Pacers (22-17) were just 5-for-30 from 3-point range, with guard C.J. Miles missing all nine of his long-range shots.
It took Indiana 2:08 to grab an 8-0 lead, and it was 12-4 after 3:19. However, the Celtics then ripped off 13 points in a 3:27 span, and the run grew to 22-2 over six minutes.
The Pacers came right back with another 8-0 burst and trailed by four after the first quarter. However, led by reserve forwards Kelly Olynyk and Jonas Jerebko, the Celtics got the lead back up to 12.
Five consecutive points by swingman Glenn Robinson III helped the visitors crawl back to within one, but then Crowder took over, scoring 10 points in just under two minutes, and Boston led by eight at the break.
NOTES: Celtics coach Brad Stevens reinserted F Jared Sullinger into the starting lineup in place of F Kelly Olynyk, who sat out the second half of Tuesday night's loss in New York because of a coach's decision. "We're 1-4 and just wanted to go and see if maybe we could find a different rhythm there," Stevens said. Sullinger scored four points Wednesday. ... Indiana G Rodney Stuckey, who sustained a right foot injury in Tuesday night's win over the Phoenix Suns, didn't make the trip. ... Pacers coach Frank Vogel on Stevens missing a game to visit former Butler player Andrew Smith, who died Tuesday: "He's just doing the right thing. I would hope that all of us with former players in a situation like that would do the same. Brad's as high character a guy as you're ever going to meet. So it's not surprising." The Celtics observed a pregame moment of silence for Smith.
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