The Boston Celtics aren’t doing enough to win.
Already co-owners of the league’s worst record, the Celtics will try to avoid a season-high fourth straight loss Wednesday when it welcomes the well-rested Indiana Pacers to TD Banknorth Garden.
Boston (1-6) won three of four from Indiana last season, including both home matchups to extend that winning streak to three games.
The Celtics, though, lost their third in a row overall Monday after a 92-89 defeat to the Orlando Magic. Five of Boston’s losses this season have been by seven points or fewer.
“Our guys have proven that they won’t go away and now we’ve got to prove that we can close the deal,” Celtics coach Doc Rivers said.
In the latest defeat, Pierce led the Celtics with 21 points and Wally Szczerbiak added 14. Boston is tied with Charlotte for the NBA’s worst record after the Bobcats lost to the New Orleans Hornets on Tuesday.
Pierce, who leads the Celtics with 25.6 points and 10.6 rebounds per game this season, said the atmosphere remains positive despite the slow start.
“We realize that we’re close and we’re a couple of mistakes from turning these losses into wins,” he said. “That’s why we still keep it positive around here. Guys walking in with their heads up.”
Indiana (4-3), which is looking to avoid its third consecutive road loss, hasn’t played since an 89-80 loss Saturday to the Chicago Bulls.
The Pacers had a 66-59 lead entering the fourth quarter, but were outscored 30-14 in the final period.
“The offensive rebounds killed us,” Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said. “They had eight offensive rebounds in the fourth quarter. Overall, they had a 24-4 advantage on the offensive boards, that’s hard to overcome regardless of how hard you play.”
Al Harrington had 19 points to lead four Pacers in double figures. He leads the Pacers with in scoring with 18.9 points per game, but that increases to 20.5 ppg on the road.
In four road contests, Harrington—who also made the jump from the high school to the NBA when the Pacers picked him 25th overall in 1998—is shooting 52.3 percent (34-of-65) from the field.
Playing the last two seasons with Atlanta before returning to Indiana this season, Harrington averaged 26.0 points and shot 54.2 percent (26-for-48) in three games last season against the Celtics.
On Monday, Pacers guard Stephen Jackson pleaded not guilty to a probation violation charge issued last month when he was accused of firing a gun outside an Indiana strip club.
Jackson could face up to three months in jail if found guilty of violating terms of his probation, which he is serving for his role in the 2004 brawl between Pacers players and fans at The Palace of Auburn Hills.
“Feeling good,” Jackson said after his brief appearance in district court north of Detroit. “Just ready to get a workout in and get ready for our next game. That’s my whole point: just getting back to basketball.”