Pierce scores 32 as Celtics cruiseNov 16, 2006 - 3:23 AM BOSTON (Ticker) -- Paul Pierce and the Boston Celtics finally closed out a game.
Pierce scored 14 of his 32 points in the decisive third quarter as the Celtics pulled away in the second half for an easy 114-88 victory over the Indiana Pacers.
Wally Szczerbiak scored 20 points and Ryan Gomes had 12 and 12 rebounds for Boston (2-6), which, according to coach Doc Rivers, had been good enough to compete in just about every game but not good enough to pick up a victory. Five of the Celtics' six losses have come by seven points or fewer.
"Great win. We needed it just to get off the (skid)," Rivers said. "It was good that it wasn't close. It was good that the bench really contributed to the win. I thought everybody really gave us something tonight.
"When you haven't won games and when you've lost leads, even I was watching the score closely.
The Celtics led, 47-45, at the half before opening the third quarter on a a decisive 23-10 run in the first eight minutes.
Pierce had eight points and two assists during the run and Sebastian Telfair contributed seven points and three assists. Telfair, Pierce and Szczerbiak hit shots from the arc during the surge.
"We pushed the tempo a little more (in the third quarter)," Pierce said. "We moved the ball, got it to the guys who had it going. When we move the ball and play defense we're tough."
Any hopes Indiana had of a comeback were put to rest as Boston opened the fourth period on a 13-2 run to put away the contest. Gerald Green started the period with a 3-pointer and Michael Olowokandi followed with a layup.
Szczerbiak then hit two free throws and two jumpers before Delonte West's dunk gave Boston a 93-68 lead with 7:45 remaining.
"Our game plan was really geared around trying to limit Pierce and Szczerbiak and we struggled to do that and it led to breakdowns offensively," Indiana coach Rick Carlisle said. "Eleven points off nine turnovers in the first half is setting a bad tone and then in the third quarter it got ugly. We're struggling.
"The disappointing thing tonight was that when things got tough, Boston was the tougher team. That is not the sign of the kind of team we need to be successful."
Green finished with nine points on three 3-pointers in 15 minutes and Kendrick Perkins had 12 points and eight rebounds for Boston, which shot 50 percent (45-of-90) and held a commanding 53-33 rebounding edge.
Al Harrington scored 16 of his 23 points in the first half for Indiana, which shot 38 percent (31-of-81) from the floor and dropped its third straight road game.
"They came out and they played hard for 48 minutes," Harrington said. "They were desperate. They were a team that was 1-6 and we knew that it was going to be very dangerous coming in here playing them under the circumstances. They let it all on the line and they were the better team tonight."
Jermaine O'Neal was limited to just 12 points on 3-of-14 shooting for Indiana, which got 15 points from Marquis Daniels.
"We should not lose to no team in this league by 20 points," Harrington said. "We've allowed that to happen to us twice and we just have to find a way to not let that happen again."
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