Pierce powers Celtics to 13th win


BOSTON, December 20 – Paul Pierce scored 18 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and passed off 12 assists to power the Boston Celtics past Indiana 99-88 on Sunday for their 13th NBA victory in a row.Pierce’s seventh career "triple double" – double-digit game statistics in three or more categories – was his first such feat in four years and helped the Celtics improve their Eastern Conference-best record to 22-4.

"I pride myself in trying to be a complete player," Pierce said. "Throughout the course of my career I’ve worked on a lot of things on both sides of the ball."

Ray Allen scored 17 points while Shaquille O’Neal added 11 in his return after missing four games with a right calf injury and Kevin Garnett had nine points and nine rebounds for Boston, which improved to 12-1 at home.

Glen Davis and Nate Robinson each added 17 points for the Celtics, with Robinson starting in place of injured guard Rajon Rondo, who is out indefinitely with a left ankle sprain.

The Pacers, led by 19 points from Danny Granger, pulled within four points before Davis and Allen sank jump shots and Allen intercepted a pass, evaded a defender and banked in a reverse layup to boost Boston’s edge to 91-83 with 3:11 to play.

"They can be beat, but you have to play a near perfect game," Granger said. "The Celtics are more talented than those other teams across the board. They probably have 40 years of All-Star games between (them)."

Roy Hibbert added 17 points and 14 rebounds for Indiana, which fell to 12-14.

"They are a heck of a basketball team and they were stingy in the fourth quarter," Pacers coach Jim O’Brien said. "We didn’t stop them enough times to give us a chance to make a run."