99 - 104 Final
  for this game

Marbury makes debut as Celtics top Pacers

Feb 28, 2009 - 5:34 AM BOSTON (Ticker) -- Stephon Marbury got a rousing ovation in his Boston Celtics' debut, but it was Ray Allen who stole the show.

Allen scored 30 points and knocked down six 3-pointers as the Celtics used a big run in the fourth quarter to pull away for a 104-99 win over the Indiana Pacers on Friday.

Paul Pierce added 16 points and Rajon Rondo matched a career high with 17 assists - nine in the third quarter - for Boston, which was returning home after winning four of six games on a West Coast swing.

"This has been a long three days for me," Marbury said. "I haven't really slept in three days. I got here at five in the morning and then got up at 8:30 and taking physicals and doing a bunch of different things."

Marbury, whose contract was finally bought out by the New York Knicks earlier this week after a contentious run with his hometown team, signed with the Celtics earlier in the day and made his debut in the final seconds of the first quarter. He earned a standing ovation from the fans when he was introduced.

"The crowd! I was so happy, I didn't know how they were going to respond," Marbury said. "They really showed me a lot of love. I felt that, I felt wanted.

"I think I was just so happy to be out there playing and happy to be out there playing with those guys. I wasn't tired but my legs were heavy. In the fourth quarter, I found some energy. My legs kinda forgot about what was going on."

Marbury had a shaky start, turning the ball over twice in five minutes between the first and second quarters, but returned at the beginning of the fourth and scored six points during a 15-4 Boston run. He finished with eight points on 4-of-6 shooting with two assists and three turnovers in 12 minutes.

"He still had timing, which you usually don't have," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said of Marbury. "I was really surprised, you sit out that long and your timing is that good."

"He really looked good tonight for not practicing," Pierce said. "Just coming in the first time, seeing him before the game and coach throwing him into the fire. It's going to take a while for him to get his legs under him, but definitely he looked really good for his first game out there."

Allen scored the other nine points during the run to open the final quarter, draining a pair of 3-pointers during the spurt to help the Celtics pull ahead, 92-79, with 8:22 left.

"There was a stretch there where I had a great rhythm, my legs felt great, wind was feeling good, guys were setting great screens for me," Allen said. "I know they were chasing me pretty hard but I was getting just that little bit of room to get my shot off."

The veteran sharpshooter was on fire all night, scoring 14 points on 5-of-7 shooting in the first half to keep Boston close, 49-48, at the half and knocking down a 3-pointer with 8:00 minutes left in the third to give the Celtics their first lead of the final 24 minutes.

"I wanted to take (Allen) out twice because he had gone over his minute allotment for a stretch minutes," Rivers said. "He played 20 minutes in a row and I was about to - I actually had Paul up and told him to sit down.

"When a guy gets it going like that there is no minute allotment, you just keep going until you think his shot has dried up. Boy was he fantastic."

With Kevin Garnett still out of the lineup due to a knee injury, Glen Davis started at forward and scored 18 points. When they Pacers cut it to 98-95 with 1:47 left, Davis responded with a three-point play.

T.J. Ford led with 23 points and Troy Murphy added 20 and 13 rebounds for Indiana, which stayed in the game thanks to a 46-35 rebounding advantage.

"We had it close, but they made a run," Ford said. "I don't know what it was. At the beginning of the fourth quarter we fought our way back. A couple of possessions, if we had got some stops, we would have given ourselves a chance.

"Under two minutes, we still had a chance. Big Baby (Davis) stepped up and he was in the right place at the right time and you have to give him credit for making his free throws."