The Pacers staved off three Boston charges in the second half in posting a 101-93 win Sunday.
"Playing a young team, you can break their morale with key baskets," said Reggie Miller, one of six Indiana players in double figures with 14 points.
"Experience is always an advantage," said Pacers coach Larry Bird, now 6-0 against the team he played for during his Hall of Fame career from 1979-92.
"I was concerned because we knew the Celtics were going to come out and play hard. I was hoping my guys could respond."
Indiana scored the game's first eight points and never trailed in raising its record to a franchise-best 20-8 at this stage of the season.
Whenever the Celtics threatened, the Pacers fended them off.
"You can usually tell when a young team is playing against a veteran team," Boston guard Kenny Anderson said.
Chris Mullin scored all 16 of his points in the third quarter as the Pacers posted their fifth win in six games.
The Celtics, losers in 11 of their last 13 games, had two chances to tie the score in the second half, but missed 3-point attempts.
The Pacers, who led 51-42 at the half, extended their lead to 72-60 on a Mullin layup before Boston scored 12 of the next 15 points.
When Boston had its first chance to tie, Antoine Walker missed a 3-pointer from the right corner.
Mullin then sandwiched two jumpers around a basket by Waker, giving Indiana a 79-74 lead after three quarters.
Trailing 81-78 early in the fourth quarter, the Celtics had a chance to tie again, but Paul Pierce missed a 3-pointer from the left corner.
"You're going to have to play four quarters of perfect ball to beat them," Pierce said. "Indiana played big down the stretch."
Boston made one last run midway in the final quarter, closing to 86-84 on Ron Mercer's turnaround jumper in the lane before Indiana sealed the win by scoring 10 of the next 12 points.
"We stayed strong throughout the game and held off their runs in the fourth quarter," said Indiana reserve guard Jalen Rose, who scored 13 points.
Mark Jackson had 15 points, Travis Best 12 and Rik Smits' 10 for the Pacers.
Mercer led Boston with 24 points, while Walker had 20 points and 11 rebounds.
"Experience is the best teacher," said Anderson of his team's recent struggles. But he could have easily been discussing the Pacers, too.
- Boston center Vitaly Potapenko was hit in the forehead by teammate Walker's elbow, receiving a cut that required 10 stitches early in the game. But he returned in the second quarter.
- It was Indiana's 11th win this month, the most in franchise history.
- After the Celtics play at Charlotte Tuesday, they have 15 of their final 22 games at home.
- The Pacers have won eight straight against the Celtics.
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