Celtics Fly By Bird, Pacers


Larry Bird doesn't lose too many games in Boston as a player or a coach.

The former Celtics star and current Pacers coach lost for the first time in nine games against his former team, as Dana Barros scored 13 fourth-quarter points to lead Boston to a 95-85 victory over Indiana on Monday night.

"You hate to lose any game," Bird said. "We've had some success here. I like the way we've played in Boston; we come out aggressive. Tonight we didn't do that."

Barros hit a 3-pointer with 7:54 left to break a 69-69 tie and put Boston ahead to stay. He hit two more 3-pointers during the 19-4 Celtics run that gave them an 86-73 lead with 3:47 to play.

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  • Barros, who finished with 15 points, also had a key rebound and dove to tip the ball to a teammate during the run.

    Indiana had beaten the Celtics in 10 consecutive games before Monday night, eight of them since Bird became the head coach in in 1997.

    "I have a great deal of respect for Larry Bird," Celtics coach Rick Pitino said. "But it wasn't Larry that was beating us, it was the Pacers."

    Bird walked off the court with a few seconds left in the game and fans chanting though not in a taunting way "Larry!"

    "They were mocking us for getting beat," he said.

    Pacers players said they could sense in the days leading up to the game that their always-focused coach was even more intent on winning against the team he led for 13 years, winning three NBA titles.

    "He doesn't really have to say anything. You know what's at stake," guard Travis Best said. "You want to win these games for him. ... We've done that every game until now."

    Paul Pierce scored 17 points and grabbed a career-high 12 rebounds for the Celtics, while Adrian Griffin had 12 points and nine rebounds.

    Dale Davis had 19 points and 12 rebounds for the Pacers, who are off to a disappointing 6-5 start in what Bird has said will be his final season as coach. Reggie Miller made 5 of 16 shots and scored 18 points, including a 3-pointer in the final minute that cut Boston's lead to 92-85.

    Walter McCarty hit one of two free throws for Boston, but Al Harrington missed a 3-point attempt that could have cut the lead to six.

    The Celtics led 61-58 with 4:11 left in the third quarter before the Pacers scored seven consecutive points to take a four-point lead into the fourth. Griffin and Tony Battie each had four points in Boston's 8-4 run to tie it at 69.

    Jalen Rose scored nine points in the first quater as the Pacers took a 23-20 lead. But Indiana shot just 25 percent in the second quarter and Boston led 43-40 at the half.

    Notes

  • The Celtics are 6-1 at home this year, their best start since going 19-1 at the Boston Garden in 1990-91.
  • Indiana's Chris Mullin returned to action after missing the last two games the first time in his career he ever sat out because of a coach's decision.
  • Pervis Ellison started at center for Boston after sitting the last two games.
  • Boston's Calbert Cheaney missed the last three games with a sprained right ankle.

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