Forward provides 10 points, 5 rebounds against Celtics after not playing in Game 1.
Austin Croshere has become like the gun John Wayne carried in his old Western movies. You know it's there, but it only gets fired when needed.
After not playing in the Indiana Pacers' playoff-opening victory, Croshere was called on in Game 2 and flashed the spark he showed in the Pacers' 2000 run to the NBA Finals.
Croshere made a free throw and a 3-pointer to start the 24-4 run that lifted the Pacers to their 103-90 victory over the Celtics on Tuesday at Conseco Fieldhouse.
The seventh-year forward finished with 10 points, five rebounds, three assists and a blocked shot.
Croshere's first points came with 29.8 seconds left in the third quarter.
The Pacers outscored Boston 38-21 in the fourth quarter in winning without NBA Defensive Player of the Year Ron Artest, who served a one-game league-imposed suspension. Croshere joined three other reserves -- Fred Jones, Jonathan Bender and Anthony Johnson -- in scoring 31 of those 38 points.
"He's the consummate pro," guard Reggie Miller said of Croshere. "He's always stayed ready. Obviously he hasn't gotten the minutes he wishes he has all year.
"He's a lot like myself. He comes early, stays late. He's continually working on his shot and his physical conditioning, just for moments like this."
In the 2000 NBA Finals, Croshere averaged 15.2 points and six rebounds in a six-game series loss to the Los Angeles Lakers. For the entire 23-game playoff run in 2000, he averaged 9.4 points and 4.7 rebounds.
Since then, his role has diminished. Last year, he played in just 49 games, never starting.
On Tuesday, he played 23 minutes off the bench. Only six times this season did he play more.
This year, he's never complained.
"You have to be professional. You don't always know what's going to happen," Croshere said. "(Coach) Rick (Carlisle) told me there was a chance I was not going to play in Game 1. Obviously with Ron out, he told me I was going to play in Game 2.
"It's just a matter of always being ready, not knowing on any given night how many minutes you might play. But for a 10th man on a team, that's your role."
The Pacers trailed 69-61 when Croshere hit a free throw and a 3-pointer in the last 30 seconds of the third quarter. In the first minute of the fourth period, he blocked a Jiri Welsch shot and ran down for a fast-break layup, tying the score at 69. Boston never led again.
In an era when diminished playing time usually leads to player discontent, Croshere has been different. He said it's what he's learned in seven years with the Pacers.
"The two years prior to the year we went to the Finals, we had guys like Antonio Davis, who was a great player, who played the backup role to Dale Davis and didn't complain," Croshere said. "You had Chris Mullin, who started for two years, then took the backup role to Jalen Rose and didn't complain.
"Those are the types of things that carry over, the attitude a team has. Guys complaining about their minutes can be the types of things that make the difference between winning in a series and losing."