The first time he got the ball, he rose above the masses for a
By the time he was through, Bynum, who won NBA championships in 2009
and 2010 with the Los Angeles Lakers, had a game-high 10 rebounds
and hit 3-of-4 shots from the field for eight points in the Pacers'
94-83 victory on Tuesday night over the Boston Celtics.
"He's a real good basketball player," said Indiana coach Frank
Vogel, who decided after Monday's practice that Bynum and his
injured knees were ready to play. "He's here for a reason."
Forward David West scored a game-high 24 points to lead the Pacers,
halting the team's losing streak at four. Forward Paul George and
guard George Hill each added 12 points for the Pacers (47-17), who
avoided their first five-game losing streak in more than two years.
Forward Jared Sullinger led Boston (22-42) with 17 points. Center
Kris Humphries added 15 points as the Celtics lost for the first
time in three games. Guard Rajon Rondo, who had 18 assists on Sunday
against Detroit, was held to eight points on 4-of-15 shooting from
the field and eight assists.
The star of the night was Bynum, who began the year with the
Cleveland Cavaliers, was on the roster of the Chicago Bulls for a
day and spent the last five weeks trying to work his knees into
playing condition. He had not played since being traded from the
Cavaliers in early January.
If there was any question about his health, Bynum answered it with
his dunk less than a minute after he entered the game with 4:21 left
in the first quarter.
"To put it into perspective," Bynum said with a smile after the
game, "I think the tallest guy they had was 6-2 (at the time of the
Bynum had a basket, rebound and assist in a 10-2 run during the
first quarter that gave Indiana a six-point lead. He hit his first
two shots from the floor.
"He's solid," West said. "He's a big man. He has a presence. They
were double-teaming him on the catch, which is rare."
Even so, the Celtics rallied from a 15-point deficit and nearly
overtook the Pacers in the final quarter. Sullinger scored 11 of his
17 points in the fourth quarter and Rondo had four assists.
The Celtics pulled within one point three different times before
Pacers guard Lance Stephenson scored three baskets in less than
three minutes. His hot hand fueled an 11-4 Indiana run that put the
Pacers up 88-80 with 2:22 remaining.
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"It's a great defensive team, and when George and Stephenson hit
the shots that they hit, it's hard to overcome that," Celtics coach
Brad Stevens said.
Celtics forward Kelly Olynyk said, "They're tough, they're big and
they take up a lot of space. Late in the game, they made shots and
we missed shots. I thought we did a great job with Rondo coming off
screens and dragging guys out on the floor and then attacking the
glass. We had success doing that."
The Celtics were outrebounded 43-41, but Humphries and Sullinger
each had nine boards.
The Pacers, who lead the NBA in team defense but struggled in that
area through their season-worst four-game losing streak, got back to
playing strong defensively against the Celtics. They allowed just 40
points in the first half and held the Celtics to 35 percent shooting
from the field in the game.
"Just trying to get our mojo back," West said. "Get confidence about
ourselves back. We've had some pretty tough losses during this
stretch. Obviously, one game is not going to magically flip the
switch, but it's a start. We did some really good things defensively
that we can build on for the next game."
NOTES: Pacers C Andrew Bynum was activated for the first time since
Indiana acquired him as a free agent on Feb. 1. His activation by
coach Frank Vogel comes at a time when backup C Ian Mahinmi was kept
out of action with a bruised left rib. ... Pacers G C.J. Watson
missed his fourth straight game with a sprained right elbow. ...
Since returning to the Boston lineup on Jan. 31 after missing more
than a year with a torn ACL, G Rajon Rondo has averaged 8.8 assists
per game. He had 18 assists on Sunday in a 118-111 win over Detroit.
... Celtics G Avery Bradley missed his 12th consecutive game with a
sore right ankle. He did not make the trip to Indy.
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