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Author Topic: Indiana 102, Philadelphia 85  (Read 1002 times)
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« on: December 20, 2007, 01:10:24 am »

The highest-scoring team in the Eastern Conference relied on defense to push its winning streak to three games.

The Indiana Pacers held the Philadelphia 76ers to 35 percent shooting in a 102-85 win Wednesday night. Indiana yielded its lowest points of the season, tying the total it allowed Miami in the second game.

Indiana coach Jim O'Brien has been preaching defense all season, and it appears the Pacers finally are listening.

"We're beginning to understand both ends of the court, offense and defense," Indiana forward Jermaine O'Neal said. "We don't care who leads this team in scoring as long as we win."

The Pacers failed in several basic aspects of the game. They were outrebounded by 16 and outscored 28-7 from the free-throw line.

They made up for it by making 9 of 21 3-pointers. They committed just eight turnovers, despite point guard Jamaal Tinsley sitting out with a bruised left thigh.

Marquis Daniels scored a season-high 26 points off the bench while taking many of Tinsley's minutes. Daniels requested to come off the bench because he's familiar with that role as Tinsley's backup. O'Brien was impressed with Daniels' unselfish move.

"I asked him if he wanted to start, and he said, 'No,"' O'Brien said. "He cares about finishing games, not who starts."

O'Neal had 19 points, nine rebounds and five blocks, and Mike Dunleavy added 19 points for the Pacers, who are on their best run since starting the season with three wins.

"We've been up and down," Dunleavy said. "We've got to continue to string wins together because if we win one, lose one, back and forth, it's going to be tough at the end of the season."

Andre Iguodala and Andre Miller each scored 19 points for the 76ers. Samuel Dalembert had 15 points and 14 rebounds and Reggie Evans added nine points and 16 rebounds for Philadelphia, which had won five of six.

The Pacers held Iguodala, Philadelphia's leading scorer, to 3-for-12 shooting. It was Philadelphia's worst shooting output of the season.

AP - Dec 19, 9:45 pm EST
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"It was just a case of our offense going flat," Philadelphia coach Maurice Cheeks said. "Our offense didn't score the ball."

The Pacers shot 46 percent from the field, two nights after shooting 58 percent in a win over New York.

Indiana also took advantage of 18 turnovers by the 76ers.

"We're a running team," Daniels said. "We want to get the ball off turnovers and get easy baskets for ourselves. I think that's something we took advantage of tonight."

Indiana led 50-47 at halftime. The Pacers shot 50 percent in the first half, but Philadelphia made all 10 of its free-throw attempts before the break.

The Pacers led 66-62 early in the third quarter before going on a 10-1 run, including 3-pointers by Dunleavy and Kareem Rush, to take a 76-63 lead late in the period. Daniels scored 10 points in the quarter to help the Pacers end it with an 81-67 bulge.

"They take a lot of quick threes, and when they start hitting them, you're in trouble," Philadelphia forward Kyle Korver said. "It wasn't our best defensive performance tonight. We need to watch the tape of this game, and go back to doing what we did before."

The Pacers are enjoying their unexpected success.

"As for turning the corner, I don't want to speak too fast, but I think we're playing with a lot of confidence," O'Neal said. "We're not where we want to be. We feel like we should have a better record than what we have now, but the record we do have, we've earned."


The Pacers observed a moment of silence for U.S. Congresswoman Julia Carson before tip-off. Carson died last Saturday of lung cancer. She was the first black and first woman to represent Indianapolis in Congress. ... Indiana PG Andre Owens got his first start with the Pacers, and the third of his NBA career. He started two games with Utah in 2005-06. Owens left the game in the first quarter with a laceration on his right hand, went in for stitches and returned in the second quarter. ... It was O'Brien's first game against the 76ers since they fired him. He led them to the playoffs in 2004-05, his only year with the team. ... A basket by Evans at the first-half buzzer was counted, then disallowed after review. ... Philadelphia made its first 16 free throws.
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