Final / OT

Indiana wins series 4-3 (Game 6 of 7)

Indiana wins series 4-3

Game 1: Saturday, April 23rd
Game 2: Monday, April 25th
Game 3: Thursday, April 28th
Game 4: Saturday, April 30th
Game 5: Tuesday, May 3rd
Game 6: Thursday, May 5th
Game 7: Saturday, May 7th

Celtics 92

(45-37, 18-23 away)

Pacers 89

(44-38, 25-16 home)

6:00 PM ET, May 5, 2005

Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN

1 2 3 4 OT T
BOS 20 29 21 14 892
IND 27 16 19 22 589

Top Performers

Bos: P. Pierce 20 Pts, 11 Reb, 6 Ast, 4 Stl, 1 Blk

Ind: J. O'Neal 26 Pts, 10 Reb, 2 Ast, 5 Blk

Walker's clutch baskets in OT lift Boston

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- The Boston Celtics earned themselves one more chance at home, though that's hardly been an advantage so far.

Did You Know ... Lead At Half Leads To Win

Halftime Final
Game 6 Celtics by 6 Celtics by 3
Game 5 Pacers by 8 Pacers by 5
Game 4 Celtics by 9 Celtics by 31
Game 3 Pacers by 17 Pacers by 23
Game 2 Pacers by 5 Pacers by 3
Game 1 Celtics by 26 Celtics by 20

In the wildest game yet of a series headed to a Game 7, the Celtics overcame the late ejection of Paul Pierce and sent their first-round matchup with the Indiana Pacers back to Boston for the deciding game with a 92-89 victory Thursday night.

"That is the craziest ... game I've ever seen in my life," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. "This series has just been unreal."

In the six games thus far, the home team has won just twice. Three of the games were blowouts, and each time, the losing team came back to win the next one on the road.

On Thursday night, Antoine Walker scored 24 points, including a go-ahead 3-pointer early in overtime and the clinching basket with a minute to go to keep the Celtics alive.

"I was just trying to rally the troops together," Walker said. "We were in a hostile environment and I tried to rally the troops to keep going on and play."

Boston came back from an early 11-point deficit, took the lead late in the second quarter and stayed in front until the closing seconds of regulation, when Pierce was ejected for his second technical foul.

Boston led 84-83 at the time, and Pierce had just been intentionally fouled by Jamaal Tinsley as the Pacers tried to stop the clock. Tinsley hit Pierce in the neck while fouling him, and Pierce appeared to swing his elbow in anger.

"It was an overreaction to a hard foul and I lost my cool out there. It almost cost us," Pierce said. "I'm just happy we got the win. I don't know how I'd feel if we lost this game."

Referee Steve Javie did not immediately make a call. But after huddling with the other two officials, Pierce was assessed his second technical foul of the game -- an automatic ejection.

"I thought Tinsley should have been kicked out of the game for some of the dirty things he did to us. He had his hands in my face on the last play, and that's why I overreacted," Pierce said. "It won't happen again."

Reggie Miller hit the technical foul shot to tie the game, and the Pacers got to choose which Celtics player would replace Pierce at the foul line. They selected Kendrick Perkins, a 64 percent foul shooter, and he missed both attempts.

The Pacers then had a chance to win, but Miller shot an airball from well behind the 3-point line, sending the game to overtime.

"When the incident happened with Paul, all I told the team ... was that we cannot lose this game," Rivers said. "We cannot. ... We've played all year to have a Game 7 in our place."

Al Jefferson scored the first basket of the extra period, and there was one more tie before Walker's 3-pointer put the Celtics ahead to stay. His next basket made it 91-87 before Tinsley scored, and Indiana got the ball back with 15 seconds left.

Jermaine O'Neal then missed a 16-foot turnaround and the ball went out of bounds over the backboard. Delonte West hit one of two free throws to finish the scoring for Boston, and Indiana's Anthony Johnson missed a 3-pointer after Indiana inbounded with 0.7 seconds left.

"We're now in a situation where we have an opportunity to play what I call the ultimate game and it's never easy to close out a series, no matter what happens," Indiana coach Rick Carlisle said. "It's tough. We've got to go up there and get a win.

"It's certainly disappointing to have a chance to advance and not get it done at home. But Boston played a good all-around game," he said.

Ricky Davis had a playoff career-high 22 points and Pierce added 20 for Boston. O'Neal led Indiana with 26 points.

"We didn't expect to lose this game. It's another tough obstacle for us," O'Neal said. "But nobody's in a panic mode. We've got one more chance to move on. Nobody said it would be easy."

The winner of Game 7 on Saturday will open the Eastern Conference semifinals at defending NBA champion Detroit.

"I think Reggie might have just played his last game in his building," Walker said in a postgame interview with Turner Sports.

Walker had 13 of his 24 points in the fourth quarter and overtime, but it was Boston's bench that initially put the Celtics in position to win.

Led by Davis and Jefferson, who finished with 11 points and 14 rebounds, the Celtics' bench outscored the starters in the first half to overcome Indiana's early lead. The Pacers scored the first 10 points of the game, and a basket and free throw by Miller gave Indiana its biggest lead, 19-8.

The Celtics came back in the second quarter, led 49-43 at the half and 70-62 after three quarters before consecutive 3-pointers by Indiana's James Jones and Fred Jones started the frantic fourth quarter.

Game notes

Miller, who had 12 points, needs 27 points to pass former Celtics player Sam Jones (2,909) for 18th in playoff career scoring. ... The last time Boston won a playoff series after trailing 3-2 was in 1988 against Atlanta. ... Former players Walt Frazier, George Gervin and Dominique Wilkins attended the game as part of the NBA Legends Tour.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Team Stat Comparison

Points 92 89
FGM-FGA 37-90 (.411) 27-75 (.360)
3PM-3PA 3-16 (.188) 6-25 (.240)
FTM-FTA 15-19 (.789) 29-37 (.784)
Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 17-54 11-44
Assists 16 15
Turnovers 17 16
Steals 10 6
Blocks 7 6
Fast Break Points 10 5
Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 27 (4/0) 19 (1/0)
Largest Lead 10 11

Top Performers

Paul Pierce Pierce
Points: 20
Reb: 11
Ast: 6
Stl: 4
Blk: 1
Jermaine O'Neal O'Neal
Points: 26
Reb: 10
Ast: 2
Stl: 0
Blk: 5