Hendricks County Flyer, Avon, IN

Sports

March 12, 2014

Bynum, Pacers spoil Stevens' return

INDIANAPOLIS — While better than his first return visit, Brad Stevens’ trip home on Tuesday ended with the same result.

The former Butler coach and his Boston Celtics were trounced by 27 points when hosted by the Indiana Pacers in December. This time it was an 11-point margin, as Indiana improved to 47-17 with a 94-83 victory.

After reeling off the kind of statistical analysis he’s known for, Stevens summed up the game succinctly.

“Everything went right except the ball going in the basket,” Stevens said. “I feel like we’re getting better, I really do, and I think you can kind of see it.

“I thought we played a lot better than the last time we were here, that’s for sure.”

The loss dropped Boston to 22-42. In six years at Butler, Stevens lost 49 games, a number he’s likely to equal or surpass by season’s end.

Stevens’ return was overshadowed Tuesday by the Pacers debut of Andrew Bynum, who was signed on Feb. 1 following his exile from Cleveland and immediate release by Chicago.

Bynum finished with an impressive eight points and 10 rebounds in 15 minutes.

“I felt great,” Bynum said. “I couldn’t do anything wrong today. All the rebounds came my way and I just grabbed them. Looking forward to next game.”

Stevens’ Celtics faced Bynum before he was shown the door in Cleveland. He had just four points and two boards in a 17-point Boston win in late-November.

“We played against him this year, so it’s not really a first for us, but for the Pacers, he’s just a big body and a great offensive player on the block,” Stevens said. “I thought he was hard to stop. He’s a good player, and another good player around a really good team.

“As he gets healthy, I still think they’ll be one of the two or three teams potentially standing when it’s all said and done.”

Tuesday’s win broke a season-high four-game losing streak for Indiana. While panic has gripped Pacers fans as of late, Stevens said there’s nothing to worry about.

“They’re 47-17? They ain’t got no troubles,” he said.

— Follow Hendricks County Flyer sports writer Brent Glasgow on Twitter @BGlasgow37.

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