Larry Bird playing with an injured thigh scored 31 points as the Boston Celtics snapped a three-game losing streak by rolling to a 111-98 victory over the Indiana Pacers last night in Boston Garden.
Bird had averaged 12.7 points in the three games since he was injured in a collision with Philadelphia's Darryl Dawkins on Jan. 28. But he keyed an early 11-0 spurt that gave Boston control, then scored 15 in the third quarter as the Celtics beat back Indiana's last threat.
Bird's three-point field goal erased a 10.8 Indiana lead. Chris Ford made a three-point play and Bird followed with another three-point field goal and a layup as the Celtics took charge, 19-10, with 6:58 to go in the opening period.
Boston built leads of 38-23 after the first quarter and 66-48 at the half-time. Indiana closed to 76-66, but Boston, led by Bird's 11 points, outscored Indiana, 15-6, the rest of the third period.
Indiana was led by Mike Bantom with 24 points, James Edwards with 18 and Louis Orr with 17. Robert Parish scored 21 for the Celtics and Gerald Henderson had 17.