BOSTON — Paul George found the range at just the right time on Saturday night.
The Indiana forward, suffering through a tough shooting night, scored 10 points over the final 4:20 and the Pacers, the team with the best record in the NBA, fought off a game effort by the Celtics and trimmed Boston 102-97.
George finished with 25 points, going 9-for-20 from the floor. He also had eight rebounds as the Pacers (45-13) won their fourth straight and fifth in the last six games.
The game turned after a Rajon Rondo desperation 3-pointer that seemed to give the Celtics a three-point lead with 4:36 left was later taken away on a reviewed 24-second violation.
Guard Lance Stephenson had 16 points, nine rebounds and six assists as five Pacers reached double figures. Guard Evan Turner, playing his third game with his new team, scored 17 points off the bench, while center Roy Hibbert had 15 points and forward David West 12 points and seven rebounds.
Forward Jeff Green led the Celtics, who have lost six of their last seven, with 27 points, while forward Kris Humphries had 18 points and 10 rebounds, forward Brandon Bass delivered 16 points and Rondo 12 points, 11 assists and seven boards.
The Pacers, playing without injured point guard George Hill, used an 11-0 run to take a seven-point lead in the first quarter and then had an 8-0 spurt to go up by 10 in the second after a Boston comeback. They led by 10 before Boston guard Chris Johnson hit a 3-pointer with 57.9 seconds left in the first half and the Indiana lead was seven at the break.
Humphries went to work with 11 points and four rebounds in the third quarter, when the Celtics scored 19 points in the final six minutes to take a two-point lead after three.
The fourth quarter was then a see-saw affair, with the Pacers, led by George, taking over in the final minutes.
NOTES: Pacers PG George Hill missed the game with a left shoulder bruise suffered Thursday night. … C Andrew Bynum, who has yet to play for his latest new team, didn’t make the trip because it was a one-day affair. He is scheduled to make the next road trip. “I just want to play,” Bynum told the Indianapolis Star. … The Celtics, who just lost F Gerald Wallace for the season with a knee injury, signed G Chris Babb to a 10-day contract. Coach Brad Stevens said losing Wallace is “pretty significant defensively.” … The Celtics were also missing big men Kelly Olynyk (toe) and Vitor Faverani (knee) and G Avery Bradley (ankle), but F Jared Sullinger returned after missing three games with a mild concussion. … The Pacers host the Utah Jazz on Sunday night while the Celtics play the Golden State Warriors in Boston on Wednesday night.
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