paul pierce

The Indiana Pacers beat Oklahoma City on Friday night, proving that they indeed are one of the league’s up-and-coming teams.

A day later, the Boston Celtics showed the Pacers what the next level looks like. Paul Pierce scored 24 points to help the Celtics beat Indiana 86-72 on Saturday night.

The veteran-laden Celtics did what winning playoff teams do. They controlled the tempo, played stifling defense and made timely shots all night. Indiana matched its lowest point total of the season…

Ray Allen added 19 points, Kevin Garnett scored 15 and Rajon Rondo had 12 assists for the Celtics.

Allen came off the bench for just the second time this season. He made 5 of 11 3-pointers, including 3 of 5 in the second half. He had missed six games with an ankle injury and has been back for just three games…

Danny Granger scored 20 points, David West had 16 and Hibbert added nine points and 17 rebounds for Indiana. The Pacers had won four in a row and had scored more than 100 points in five consecutive games. Indiana shot 35 percent from the field, made just 5 of 22 3-pointers and committed 19 turnovers.

– Reported by Cliff Brunt of the Associated Press