Pierce nets 24 to lead Celtics over Pacers

Posted: April 08, 2012

Paul Pierce scored 24 points to help the Boston Celtics beat the Indiana Pacers, 86-72, in Indianapolis Saturday night.

Ray Allen added 19 points, Kevin Garnett scored 15, and Rajon Rondo had 12 assists for the Celtics. Boston snapped a two-game skid and are now two games ahead of the 76ers at the top of the Atlantic Division.

Danny Granger scored 20 points and Roy Hibbert had 17 rebounds for Indiana.

The Pacers shot 35 percent from the field, made just 5 of 22 three-pointers and committed 19 turnovers.

Elsewhere: Zaza Pachulia had 12 and 16 rebounds, and eight Atlanta players scored in double digits as the Hawks beat the host Charlotte Bobcats, 116-96. Atlanta remains four games ahead the Sixers in the playoff race.

No brain injury for Najera

Charlotte forward Eduardo Najera didn't suffer any brain trauma after taking an inadvertent elbow to the head from Milwaukee's John Brockman during the Bobcats' 95-90 loss to the Bucks on Friday.

Najera had a CT scan at a hospital that showed he suffered a fractured frontal bone. He accompanied his teammates on a flight back to North Carolina Saturday morning after leaving the hospital.

Brockman visited Najera at the hospital. After the game, Bobcats coach Paul Silas called the injury "bad, real bad."

The good guys

The Miami Heat are spending the weekend hosting Thiago D'Elia, a 17-year-old high school player from Atlanta. The kid can shoot - he was hitting three-pointers from NBA range during practice on Saturday - but his presence was for a more important reason. D'Elia has fought cancer, and the Make-A-Wish Foundation reached out to the Heat to see if his dream of hanging out with LeBron James could become reality.

"It's unreal," D'Elia said, wearing a black Heat uniform bearing his high school number, 32, along with his first name on the back.

Even after seeing their 17-game home-court winning streak snapped Friday night by Memphis, Saturday's workout was a light one for the Heat, evidenced by the fact that it ended with a halfcourt shooting contest, with D'Elia taking part in that.

He missed. No one was disappointed.

"It was a joy to have him with us today," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "Not only for him, but also coming off a night like last night, it certainly keeps everything in perspective for all of us. We are in the toy department of human affairs."

- Inquirer wire services

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