INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — David West scored 24 points and Andrew Bynum grabbed a season-high 10 rebounds in his Pacers debut, helping suddenly struggling Indiana pull away late for a 94-83 win over Boston on Tuesday night.
Indiana (47-17) ended its longest losing streak of the season at four. Paul George added 12 points as the Pacers extended their Eastern Conference lead to 1½ games over two-time defending champion Miami in the East.
Boston (22-42) was led by Jared Sullinger with 17 points and Kris Humphries with 15 as its two-game winning streak ended.
Bynum played just 15 minutes but his first basket gave Indiana a 16-14 lead and the Pacers never trailed again.
Boston, which trailed by as much as 15 in the third quarter, twice got within one in the fourth. But the Pacers answered the second time with a 6-0 run to make it 83-76 and the Celtics never threatened again.
Bynum gave Indiana an infusion of energy that it desperately needed on a night George was in foul trouble and Lance Stephenson was off the mark.
Through 2 ½ quarters, Stephenson and George had combined for just four points.
Bynum, on the other hand, finished with eight points and one assist in his first action since late December. And the fans, who had been waiting since Feb. 1 to see No. 17 on the court, gave him a rousing ovation when he entered the game with 4:22 left in the first quarter.
It didn’t take Bynum long to prove he can still play.
He started with a dunk, breaking the 14-14 tie, on a post-up move. That spurred an 8-2 run that gave Indiana a 22-16 lead.
Indiana led 24-20 after one and took advantage of a 13-2 run late in the second quarter to build a 47-33 lead with 2:22 left in the half.
Boston closed to 49-40 at the half and after trailing 65-50 late in the third rallied against the NBA’s best home team. The Celtics closed the quarter on an 11-4 run to get within 69-61 after three, then scored the first five points of the fourth quarter.
Sullinger’s 3 with 6:45 left made it 77-76, but West hit a 21-footer to start Indiana’s decisive 6-0 run. Boston couldn’t get closer than six the rest of the way as Indiana pulled off its first four-game season sweep of the Celtics since 1997-98.