NBA: Kemba Walker pours in 32 as Celtics down Pacers

Field Level Media, Reuters

Posted at Feb 27 2021 01:32 PM

Kemba Walker scored a season-high 32 points as the slumping Boston Celtics shook off a slow start to beat the visiting Indiana Pacers 118-112 on Friday night.

Daniel Theis had 17 points and Jaylen Brown 15 as the Celtics snapped a three-game losing streak, winning for just the fourth time in their last 12 games.

Robert Williams III chipped in 14 points and 11 rebounds off the Boston bench, and Jeff Teague also scored 14 points. Newly named All-Star starter Jayson Tatum had nine points on 4-of-18 shooting.

Domantas Sabonis, named an All-Star as a replacement earlier in the day, had 24 points and nine assists to lead the Pacers, who dropped their second straight. 

Justin Holiday added 19 points, and Myles Turner contributed 17 points and 10 rebounds.

A 9-0 run got the Pacers within 98-97 with 8:14 left in the fourth quarter. Walker drained back-to-back buckets and the Celtics regained control, leading 110-101 with 3:47 to go.

Indiana pecked away, a layup by Sabonis getting the visitors within 112-109 with 1:23 remaining. Theis and Sabonis traded threes, and Walker made his free throws with 11.6 seconds left to ice the win for Boston.

Despite trailing by 14 within the game's first five minutes, the Celtics carried a 1-point lead into the second half. 

A 10-2 run helped Boston expand its margin to 77-67 on a Theis 3-pointer at 7:07 of the third, and after Indiana answered with a 10-2 spurt of its own, Walker drained a trey for an 82-77 edge.

The Celtics entered the fourth up 92-84.

The Pacers scored the game's first 12 points after an early bucket by Theis was erased for not beating the shot clock. 

Indiana led 18-4 before Boston found its legs, Walker leading a run to get the hosts within 20-19. By quarter's end, the Celtics were up 32-31.

The Pacers edged ahead 60-59 on a bucket by Malcolm Brogdon with 41.5 seconds remaining in the half, but Brown made his shot on the other end to give the Celtics a 61-60 advantage at the break.