Bynum's return helps Pacers get past Celtics 94-83

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 11, 2014 at 10:07 pm •  Published: March 11, 2014
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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Andrew Bynum provided the energy boost Indiana needed early. David West delivered all the big shots late.

Together, the Pacers' tag-team inside tandem simply overpowered the Celtics.

West scored 24 points Tuesday while Bynum finished with eight points and 10 rebounds in 16 minutes, helping the Pacers pull away from Boston, 94-83.

"He (West) is our backbone. He's the one that lifts us and he's our best late-game playmaker and shot maker," Paul George said. "We always rely on David and he always digs us out of holes."

The Pacers desperately needed West's closing punch after losing a season high four straight.

They also needed Bynum's presence.

Indiana played without backup center Ian Mahinmi (bruised left rib) and backup point guard C.J. Watson (sprained right elbow), then lost George with two fouls just 7 minutes into the game.

George wasn't the only having trouble Tuesday.

Indiana's other big perimeter shooter, Lance Stephenson, went 4 of 12 from the field and was shut out in the first half. Starting point guard George Hill appeared to hurt his right hand in the fourth quarter and All-Star center Roy Hibbert finished the game despite a hard fourth-quarter fall.

Yet the re-emerging West and Bynum, who played for the first time in almost 2½ months, made up for those problems.

"I felt great. I couldn't do anything wrong today," Bynum said. "All the rebounds came my way. I just grabbed them."

The win gives Indiana a 1½-game lead over Miami in the Eastern Conference standings. The Pacers also became the first team to win 30 home games and are still a league-best 30-4 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

While West stole the show on the court, Bynum created the most buzz off of it.

For six weeks, Pacers fans waited to see No. 17 take the court. The 7-foot former All-Star drew a rousing ovation when he entered with 4:22 left in the first quarter and by the time the period ended, Bynum already had four points, five rebounds and one assist.

Afterward, Bynum downplayed the impact he had.

West, however, thought Bynum's presence made a huge difference — one that could help Indiana get back on track and stay on track through June.

"He had an opportunity and he took advantage of it tonight," West said. "He's going to make the game simple from my perspective when he's on the floor. We've got to play through him offensively. He's solid."