INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Jermaine O'Neal showed no signs of being
hampered by an injured leg while displaying why he is a first-time
The Pacers trailed by three with 3:50 left before closing with a
10-2 run and holding the Knicks to 1-for-7 shooting during that
span. They used two strong defensive efforts in that span -- forcing
a shot-clock violation and getting a block from O'Neal -- to thwart
There were four ties and five lead changes in the fourth
quarter, with the Pacers taking the lead for good on Jeff Foster's
tip-in with 2:45 left. O'Neal's layup made it 90-87 but the Knicks
followed with the violation.
Then a Pacers turnover led to a fast break, but O'Neal came
racing down the court to block Latrell Sprewell's layup and send
the ball out of bounds.
"I couldn't get up high enough," Sprewell said. "I knew he
was coming so I knew I had to get it up high, but I just couldn't
push off my right foot."
Pacers coach Isiah Thomas said it was a play that showed why
O'Neal, who had his hyperextended left knee swell up on Friday, is
going to the All-Star game next week.
"The way he ran down Sprewell, it reminded me of a young
(Hakeem) Olajuwon, how he ran guys down to block the shot," Thomas
said. "It was a great play."
It turned out to be the only block for O'Neal, who entered
averaging 2.5 a game. He also had 13 rebounds for his 22nd
"I know things can happen when they get easy buckets like that,
so I wanted to run him down, get him to make a tough shot or have
me be able to block the shot," O'Neal said.
The Knicks had the ball and Miller was called for a foul -- his
fifth -- but Allan Houston missed both free throws.
"I've got to step up and make them," Houston said. "They both
felt real funny coming off. I was in a position to put us within
one point and it didn't happen."
Miller then hit two free throws, icing the Pacers third win in
their last four games.
Travis Best scored 11 for the Pacers, and Foster added 11
rebounds and put in the game-winning tip off Bender's miss.
"I keep saying Jeff is the one guy we can't do without,"
Thomas said. "He make momentum plays, back-breaking plays like the
tap he got."
Houston led the Knicks with 27 points, Sprewell had 18, Clarence
Weatherspoon had a season-high 14 and Kurt Thomas 12. The Knicks
played all but six minutes without Marcus Camby, who bruised his
hip in the first quarter.
Knicks coach Don Chaney said he didn't know how much time, if
any, Camby would miss but said he was hurting after the game.
"It's tough because once again it puts a strain on our front
line," Chaney said. "I've said how important Marcus is in terms
of protecting the basket and his versatility late in the game."
The Knicks went on a 23-10 run in the third and tied the game at
63 after a jumper by Othella Harrington. The Pacers scored the next
seven points and led 72-70 after three.
Houston scored 12 of points in the third quarter on 5-of-7
"I just got going and had better rhythm with my shots,"
Consecutive baskets by Sprewell gave New York an 80-76 lead in
the fourth. A running jumper by Mark Jackson made it 85-82.
Bender scored all 18 of his points in the first half, going
7-for-11 overall and 4-for-7 from 3-point range. He helped the
Pacers take a 53-40 lead at the half. Bender missed all three of
his shots in the second half.
New Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy served as the
Pacers honorary coach. ...Camby was helped off the court after he
bruised his right hip. Camby landed hard on his side after he
attempted a driving layup along the baseline and collided with
O'Neal with 6:16 left in the first quarter. X-rays were negative
and he is listed as day-to-day. ...Tinsley returned to the lineup
after missing Wednesday's game with hip and groin injuries. Best
started at point guard, but Tinsley came back in the second quarter
and finished with seven points in 19 minutes. ...The Pacers rallied
from a 20-point deficit to beat New York in November. ...Indiana
had its seventh sellout. ...The Knicks had a season-low eight
turnovers. ...The Pacers attempted more 3-pointers (20) than free