Granger leads Pacers past Boston’s Big 3, 87-74

Posted Jan. 06, 2012, at 11:23 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 07, 2012, at 12:21 a.m.

BOSTON — The Indiana Pacers hadn’t won a game in Boston since the Big 3 was assembled in the summer of 2007. New coach Frank Vogel had an idea how to end the slump.

“We have confidence that we can beat any team in any building,” Vogel said Friday night after the Pacers beat the Celtics 87-74 to snap a seven-game losing streak in Boston. “We knew to win here we’d have to make it like an Eastern Conference playoff-type battle. Just grind it out, have defensive effort.”

Danny Granger had 15 points, and Roy Hibbert scored 11 with 12 rebounds for the Pacers. Indiana shot just 40.5 percent from the field but held the Celtics to 39.4 percent, including a 26.5 percent first half in which Boston tied a franchise low with 25 points.

“Both teams set offense back about 50 years today. It was awful to watch,” Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. “I just thought offensively we were horrible. But I give Indiana a lot of the credit.”

Granger was just 3 for 14 from the field, one game after he went 2 of 13 in Indiana’s 35-point loss to the Miami Heat. But George Hill and Tyler Hansbrough came off the bench to score 13 and 12 points, respectively.

“I feel like things are going great. I’m not worried about my shot,” Granger said. “We are already playing well. We’re only going to be better. … We’re so talented across the board — I’m talking 1 through 8 — we have guys that could start on other teams. I’m excited.”

David West grabbed 10 rebounds against the team he jilted as a free agent. The Boston fans booed West, who turned down a chance to play for Boston to sign with the Pacers.

Ray Allen returned after missing one game with an illness and scored 23 points for the Celtics, who for the first time this season lost a game with their starting lineup intact. Paul Pierce, who missed the first three games — all losses — scored 10 points on 3-for-17 shooting.

“He was human,” Rivers said. “I thought he tried to do too much off the bounce, especially early. And then I thought he got frustrated.”

The Pacers scored the last eight points of the first half to open a 33-25 lead. Boston cut it to two points with 8 minutes left in a more wide-open third period, when both teams scored 30.

But it was back to 63-53 right before the final break, and the Celtics got within five points on Allen’s 3-pointer early in the fourth. Boston, however, continued to turn the ball over and miss shots down the stretch.

Notes: Boston C Jermaine O’Neal left briefly in the third quarter to bulk up his padding. … Pacers F-C Jeff Foster played his first game of the season after missing the first six with a sore lower back. … Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo scored 11 points with nine assists. … The Pacers bench outscored Boston’s 33-14. Indiana had a 47-36 edge in rebounds, including 14-7 on the offensive glass. The Pacers also led 42-28 on points in the paint and 19-5 on second-chance points.

Bulls 97, Magic 83

ORLANDO, Fla. — Derrick Rose and Luol Deng each scored 21 points and the Chicago Bulls held off a fourth-quarter surge by Orlando to beat the Magic 97-83 on Friday night for their sixth straight victory.

Carlos Boozer added 20 points for Chicago, which led by as many as 17 before the lead was trimmed to three. The Bulls closed the game on a 17-6 run.

Dwight Howard led the Magic with 28 points and 15 rebounds.

The Bulls (7-1) are off to their best start since winning 12 of 13 to open the 1996-97 season. The latest victory began a brutal stretch for Chicago that includes seven games in nine nights.

Orlando (5-3) lost at home for the first time this season. It was the Magic’s first game against a 2010-11 playoff team since their opener at Oklahoma City.

Rose went through some scoring lulls but kept Chicago’s offense on schedule, handing out 10 assists and coming within two rebounds of a triple-double.

The Bulls dominated inside and held a 46-37 rebounding edge. They also had 27 assists.

The Magic bench, which had been playing well this season, was 3 for 15 from the field.

The game featured several momentum shifts in the first three quarters.

The Bulls briefly opened a 17-point lead early in the third before three straight Magic 3-pointers pulled them within 62-54.

That came after Chicago built a 10-point lead at halftime.

The Bulls made their early run even though Rose was held scoreless in the second quarter. Kyle Korver picked up the slack with nine points and Boozer added eight, including a jumper at the halftime horn.

Rose got off to a strong start with 12 first-quarter points.

The Magic jumped out to a 10-2 lead, prompting a quick Bulls timeout. But Chicago responded with a spurt of its own that included six straight points by Rose to tie it at 17.

Orlando regained its footing, outscoring the Bulls 10-9 the rest of the quarter thanks to six points by Howard, who was 6 for 8 in the period with 14 points and five rebounds.

Notes: Bulls G Richard Hamilton suited up but did not play with a sore left groin. … Magic swingman Quentin Richardson was inactive, recovering from a chemical burn on his ankle after a self-treatment mishap in which he iced his sore ankle with Icy Hot and then applied ice to it. Rookie G DeAndre Liggins also didn’t dress after having an allergic reaction to shellfish. … HBO’s “Real Sports” will feature a profile this month on Magic coach Stan Van Gundy and younger brother Jeff, who are sons of a coaching father. Stan said there was “probably not” any doubt they would both become coaches. “I’ve never really considered anything else,” he said. Jeff was a courtside TV analyst for Friday night’s game and the former NBA coach’s name often comes up when there are coaching vacancies. Asked what he thought Jeff’s chances of getting back on the sideline were, Stan said “50-50.” ”He likes what he’s doing now, but I think he misses it,” he said. “I think he misses the competition and the whole process of coaching. So it’s certainly possible.”

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