West’s 24 points propel Pacers past Celtics

Indiana Pacers forward Paul George (24) takes a shot against Boston Celtics center Jared Sullinger (7) on Tuesday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Indiana defeated Boston 94-83.
Brian Spurlock | USA Today Sports
Indiana Pacers forward Paul George (24) takes a shot against Boston Celtics center Jared Sullinger (7) on Tuesday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Indiana defeated Boston 94-83.
Posted March 11, 2014, at 10 p.m.
Last modified March 11, 2014, at 10:17 p.m.

INDIANAPOLIS — Forward David West scored a game-high 24 points to lead the Indiana Pacers to a 94-83 win over the Boston Celtics on Tuesday night and halt the Pacers’ season-worst losing streak.

Pacers 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.

Indiana 7-foot center Andrew Bynum made his Pacers debut and packed a punch from the start. He replaced starting center Roy Hibbert with 4:21 left in the first quarter and within a minute produced a roar from the crowd by delivering a dunk after a pass from guard-forward Evan Turner.

Bynum, who was acquired as a free agent on Feb. 1, had a basket, rebound and assist in a 10-2 run that gave Indiana a six-point lead. He finished with eight points and a game-high 10 rebounds.

Bynum, a member of the 2009 and 2010 Los Angeles Lakers’ championship teams, began the season with the Cleveland Cavaliers. He was traded to the Chicago Bulls on Jan. 7, then was cut the next day. Since joining the Pacers, he has been rehabbing his injured knees.

Pacers guard Lance Stephenson, who had scored just one basket in more than three quarters, helped Indiana put this one away. After the Celtics pulled to within one point in the fourth quarter, 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.

The Pacers, who lead the NBA in team defense but had 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.

NOTES: Bynum’s 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.

NHL

Blue Jackets 4, Red Wings 1

Boone Jenner and Brandon Dubinsky scored 40 seconds apart midway through the third period to lift host Columbus.

Nick Folingo and Derek MacKenzie added goals as the Blue Jackets moved two points ahead of Detroit for the second wild-card slot in the Eastern Conference. Sergei Bobrovsky made 39 saves to improve to 5-1-0 in his last six starts.

Defenseman Danny DeKeyser scored the only goal for the Red Wings, who lost for the fourth time in five games (1-3-1). Petr Mrazek, forced into action when Jimmy Howard came down with the flu earlier in the day, turned aside 33 shots in his first start since Jan. 12.

Jenner broke a 1-1 tie at 10:08 of the third, forcing a turnover along the end boards and skating in front before snapping a high wrister past Mrazek from the right dot. Dubinsky padded the lead 40 seconds later thanks to some strong work down the right side from Matt Calvert, deking Mrazek for a 3-1 cushion.

DeKeyser put the Red Wings on top midway through the first period when his straight-on blast deflected past Bobrovsky. Foligno tied it just under five minutes later with a superb effort, swiping in a backhander from flat on his stomach.

Predators 4, Sabres 1

Captain Shea Weber, Craig Smith and Nick Spaling each collected a goal and an assist as visiting Nashville posted its second win following a four-game losing streak.

Former Sabre Paul Gaustad sealed the victory with an empty-net goal as the Predators improved to 3-0-2 in their last five road games. Colin Wilson notched two assists and Carter Hutton turned aside 24 shots in the win.

Drew Stafford scored with the man advantage in his 500th NHL game and Jhonas Enroth finished with 20 saves for Buffalo, which has dropped four of its last five.

Weber gave Nashville a 2-1 lead at 3:33 of the second period after one-timing Wilson’s drop pass over the glove of Enroth. Smith netted his team-leading 20th goal just over four minutes later as his low shot from the high slot sailed between the pads of the netminder.

Stafford tallied from the doorstep at 2:09 of the first period for his second goal in as many games. The Predators drew even 15 minutes later as Weber’s blast caromed off Spaling’s skate and into the net.

 

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