Celtics take winning streak into Indiana

Updated: March 6, 2013

The Boston Celtics will carry a three-game winning streak into Indianapolis Wednesday night when they face the Central Division-leading Indiana Pacers.

The Celtics have won four of five and their most recent victory came Tuesday night in Philadelphia. They beat the Sixers 109-101 based on a great performance by Avery Bradley.

The third-year guard has been tasked with replacing injured All-Star Rajon Rondo. The Celtics are 12-4 since Rondo tore his ACL and Bradley was a huge factor in why they beat the Sixers.

Known as a defensive stopper, Bradley shot a game-high 22 points on 10-for-15 shooting, including 2-for-4 from long range. He grabbed seven rebounds and handed out five assists.

“My teammates have confidence in me,” said Bradley. “I have to have confidence in myself and if I have open shots, I have to take them.”

Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett scored 18 points apiece and Pierce pulled down 11 rebounds to go with seven assists. Jeff Green netted 16 off the bench and newcomer Jordan Crawford added 12.

The Celtics committed 22 turnovers, were outscored in the paint (64-38), but came away with the win. Boston had 34 assists on 42 made field goals, got 41 points from its bench and shot 58 percent from the 3-point line.

The Pacers have won two straight and seven of their last eight. Indiana is 5-1 in its last six at home and 25-6 inside Bankers Life Fieldhouse, which is second-best in the Eastern Conference.

Indiana has been off since a 97-92 home victory over the Chicago Bulls on Sunday. The time off has helped the Pacers.

“We had off yesterday and then a full practice day today,” head coach Frank Vogel said on Tuesday. “It just helps you dial in on some situational things like we worked on today and obviously study your opponent a little more.”

The Pacers are second in the NBA in opponents’ scoring and lead the league in opponents’ field-goal percentage and 3-point percentage. That should come in handy since the Celtics shot 50 percent from the floor against the Sixers and almost 60 percent from long range.

Against the Bulls, who are second to the Pacers in the Central, David West went off for 31 points on 11-for-18 shooting. George Hill had 21 and Paul George and Roy Hibbert both recorded double-doubles.

The Pacers are still trying to work former All-Star Danny Granger into the lineup. He didn’t play in the second half against the Bulls with knee pain and sat out of practice Tuesday, making him questionable for Wednesday’s tilt.

The Celtics won this season’s only matchup with Indiana, a 94-75 drubbing on Jan. 4 in Beantown. The Pacers have won three of their last five at home in this series.