Paul George scores 27 points as Pacers dominate second half for 97-82 win over Celtics
BOSTON (AP) -- Paul George scored 27 points and led a comeback from an eight-point halftime deficit to help the Indiana Pacers improve on the best record in the Eastern Conference with a 97-82 win over the Boston Celtics on Friday night.
Trailing 50-42 at halftime, Indiana outscored Boston 25-8 in the third quarter to take a 67-58 lead. It was the Celtics' lowest scoring quarter of the season, worse than the 11 points they had in the second period of a 93-87 loss to the Toronto Raptors on Oct. 30. The Pacers kept rolling with a 30-24 fourth quarter and improved to 11-1.
George had 22 points in the second half.
David West and Luis Scola had 17 points each for Indiana, which had lost its previous four games against Boston.
Jordan Crawford had a season-high 24 points, but just five in the second half, and Jeff Green added 20 for the Celtics, who lost their sixth straight to drop to 4-10 after winning four in a row.
The rebuilding Celtics played impressively in the first half against a team that had won five of its first 11 games by at least 10 points. But Boston had more turnovers, nine, than points in the third period. And West outscored Boston's entire team in the quarter with 10 points.
The Pacers took their first lead since 7-6 on a tip-in by Roy Hibbert that made it 55-54 with 5:48 left in the third quarter. Green's two free throws gave the Celtics the lead again. But they never got it back after George's 3-pointer with 4:05 left in the period began a 10-0 run that gave Indiana a 65-56 lead.
Lance Stephenson followed with a layup, George hit a 20-footer, West made a short bank shot and Ian Mahinmi sank a free throw.
The surge began after Crawford missed for the first time on a jumper from the left corner with 4:15 remaining in the third. He had made his first nine shots and both free throws.
The Celtics had taken their biggest lead of the game, eight points, on Crawford's 30-foot 3-pointer at the halftime buzzer. He scored 19 points in the half, making all eight of his shots and both free throws.
Boston sank 59 percent of its shots in the half, while Indiana hit 44.4 percent. But in the third quarter, the Celtics hit 21.4 percent (3 of 14) to 42.3 percent (11 for 26) by the Pacers.
Indiana had won its first nine games before struggling as it began a three-game road trip. It lost to Chicago 110-94 then went to overtime before beating the New York Knicks 103-96 Wednesday night.
The Celtics were coming off a loss to another team that began Friday night with a 10-1 record. They lost at San Antonio 104-93 Wednesday night.
NOTES: Boston forward Kelly Olynyk didn't return after spraining his right ankle when he fell under the Pacers basket with 4:15 left in the first half. ... Stephenson had 10 points and 10 assists and 11 rebounds for the Pacers. ... The Celtics had seven turnovers in the first half and 14 in the second.