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Kevin Garnett had 20 points and 11 rebounds, and the Boston Celtics tied the NBA record for the best single-season turnaround with a 92-77 win over the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday night.
With the league's best record at 60-15, the Celtics have 36 more wins than last season when they finished 24-58, the NBA's second worst mark. The only other team to improve by that much was the San Antonio Spurs, who went from 20-62 in 1996-97 to 56-26 the next season, Tim Duncan's first.
The Celtics added Garnett in the offseason and have won 60 games for the first time in 22 years. They were 67-15 in 1985-86, when they won the most recent of their 16 NBA championships. That was their sixth 60-win season in a seven-season stretch.
Boston won its fifth straight and increased its Eastern Conference lead to 6 1/2 games over Detroit, which was idle. The Celtics lowered their magic number for clinching the No. 1 seed to two.
Indiana dropped into a tie with New Jersey, four games behind Atlanta, which currently has the final playoff spot in the East. The Hawks beat Toronto 127-120 in overtime.
The Pacers were led by Danny Granger with 14 points and Mike Dunleavy and Jermaine O'Neal with 12 each. O'Neal came off the bench for the second game since missing 33 straight with a bone bruise on his left knee.
Ray Allen had 15 points and Leon Powe had 14 with nine rebounds for the Celtics.
Boston hit its first four shots of the game and Indiana missed its first six as the Celtics never trailed. They took a 35-24 lead with 7:26 left on a 3-pointer by James Posey and led by at least 10 points the rest of the way.
It was 49-30 at halftime after the Celtics held the Pacers to just nine field goals in 36 shots. In their last home game, three days earlier, the Celtics allowed just 17 field goals, an NBA record low in the shot-clock era, in an 88-62 win over the Miami Heat.
Boston increased its lead to 56-30 as Allen scored five of the first seven points of the third quarter.
Then the Pacers, who lost for just the third time in nine games, finally found their shooting touch, scoring nine straight points, capped by Jeff Foster's layup, to make it 56-39. Gradually, Boston regained control and took a 67-45 lead on a dunk by Kendrick Perkins with 2:50 left in the third quarter.
Indiana closed that to 79-66 midway through the fourth quarter, but the Celtics went on an 11-1 run to take their biggest lead, 90-67 with 2:18 remaining.
This program aired on April 3, 2008. The audio for this program is not available.
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