The Celtics  got absolutely pounded on the boards, 26-14, in the first half which is the biggest thing that stands out from the opening 24 minutes. And yet, they are only down one as we get ready for the third quarter.
THIRD QUARTER WRAP: Despite Rajon Rondo’s brilliance. Despite Ray Allen’s hot hand. Despite solid production from Paul Pierce , the Celtics have some work to do in the fourth quarter against the short-handed Pacers. Oh, and there is some serious tensions between the Celtics and ref Derrick Collins.
It’s all leading to an exciting fourth quarter. Will Stephon Marbury  play an important part?
Third Quarter Observations
— It would really help the backup big men’s causes if they learned how to finish around the rim. Both Big Baby and Leon Powe  seem to have a tick where they either expect contact or wait for it to come instead of finishing off the play.
— Old NBA wisdom that seems apt this evening. Long road trips don’t end until after the first home game back in town. The Celtics have been gone for almost three weeks and they seem a step slow tonight.
— Leon Powe has put together a nice night so far with 10 points and three rebounds. As I wrote after the Clipper game, Powe’s per-minute production is practically starter level. What keeps him off the floor for longer periods of time (besides playing on a team like the Celtics) is the fact that he averages a foul every six minutes or so. If he can do two things–cut down on the fouls and make free throws at a 75 percent rate–he can have a long and very lucrative career.
— Rondo has 17 assists tonight. Seventeen. Think he might be making a point? (That ties a career-high by the way).
— That was so close to the greatest offensive move Kendrick Perkins  will ever make.
— Well, give the Pacers credit for hanging in this one without Danny Granger . They’ve shot the ball much better this quarter and they’re still enjoying a +10 margin on the boards.