BOSTON -- Stephon Marbury had more than 13 months to imagine how it would feel when he got back into an NBA game.
"It went the way I was praying for it to go," the former Knicks castoff and newly acquired Celtics backup said Friday night, after scoring six points during a key, 9-0 fourth-quarter run that helped Boston beat the Indiana Pacers 104-99.
Sheridan: Starbury Reborn
In his Boston Celtics debut on Friday night, Stephon Marbury reminded us of the heights he's capable of reaching, writes Chris Sheridan. Story
"The whole satisfaction of the whole night for me is that we won."
Marbury finished with eight points and two assists in under 13 minutes -- just hours after clearing waivers and signing with the Celtics for their push toward the playoffs and a try at back-to-back NBA titles. It was also the first home game for Mikki Moore since he was waived by the Sacramento Kings and signed by the Celtics on Tuesday.
"I'm just happy now that I know what I have. A week ago, we didn't," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. "You can see them [the playoffs] out there, 22 games away. That's nice. We can't wait to get to them."
• Stephon Marbury had eight points, two assists and three turnovers in 13 minutes off the bench in his Celtics debut.
• Boston has won three straight over Indiana.
• The Celtics improved to 6-1 without injured star Kevin Garnett and 15-3 without him since he joined the team last season.
• T.J. Ford had 23 points to lead the Pacers, who have lost 12 of their last 13 road games.
-- ESPN research
T.J. Ford scored 23 and Troy Murphy had 20 points and 13 assists for the Pacers, who had won three out of four.
Marbury entered the game to a standing ovation with 19.4 seconds left in the first quarter and sank his first shot early in the second for his first points since Jan. 11, 2008.
"Oh, man, I wanted to cry," he said. "I didn't know what to expect. I thought people would clap, but they showed me a lot of love tonight."
By the time he sat back down with 7:11 left in the second, though, Boston's 26-18 lead had been turned into a 30-29 deficit. But Marbury, who had about an hour of practice with the Celtics before putting on his new uniform, hit three baskets in a 9-0 run at the beginning of the fourth quarter to turn a four-point game into a 92-79 lead.
"He had the boxer legs in the first half," Rivers said. "But in the second half, he was terrific. You could just see his basketball IQ. It just really worked tonight. It's going to keep getting better, you could see that."
Ray Allen scored nine points in the first two minutes of the fourth.
"You give him six inches and he puts it down," Pacers coach Jim O'Brien said. "Most of his shots were well-guarded and he put them down."
Paul Pierce, who dislocated his right thumb on Wednesday night in Boston's loss to the Los Angeles Clippers, scored 16 points on 6-of-13 shooting. He took just two foul shots as he tried to protect the thumb from hacking defenders.
"I was really hesitant to get any contact going, for the simple fact that it came out twice last game," he said. "But it's something I'm going to have to get over mentally."
Indiana scored six in a row to trim a 98-89 lead to three points, but Davis converted a three-point play. Jeff Foster's fourth-chance putback made it 101-97, then Davis made a leaner in the lane as the shot clock expired.
After Ford made a pair of free throws with 35 seconds left, Davis sank one of two to help ice it.
The Celtics are 31-4 against the Eastern Conference. ... The Pacers are the only team to beat Boston, Cleveland, Orlando and the Los Angeles Lakers -- the top four teams in the NBA. ... Murphy has broken double digits in rebounds in 41 of his last 49 games. ... Indiana forward Mike Dunleavy missed his ninth straight game with a sore right knee. Forward Danny Granger missed his fifth game in a row with a partially torn tendon in his right foot.