Regular Season Series (Game 2 of 4)

Series starts 12/28

Game 1: Saturday, December 28th
Game 2: Tuesday, December 31st
Game 3: Wednesday, February 12th
Game 4: Tuesday, March 11th

Pacers 89

(23-8, 9-7 away)

Hornets 86

(18-15, 11-3 home)

    Coverage: COX

    7:30 PM ET, December 31, 2002

    Smoothie King Center, New Orleans, LA

    1 2 3 4 T
    IND 18 21 33 1789
    NO 27 22 22 1586

    Top Performers

    Ind: B. Miller 20 Pts, 10 Reb, 2 Ast, 2 Blk

    NO: J. Magloire 15 Pts, 10 Reb, 1 Ast, 5 Blk

    Miller's second-half surge fuels Pacers' rally

    NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- Despite a drop in scoring, Reggie Miller showed Tuesday night he can still produce in the clutch.

    Reggie Miller

    Miller, averaging fewer than 13 points a game, hit a pair of 3-pointers and scored 14 points in the third quarter as the Indiana Pacers overcame a 10-point halftime deficit for an 89-86 victory over the Hornets.

    "He took and made some good shots and gave us momentum when we needed it,'' Indiana coach Isiah Thomas said. "He's the type of player in this league -- he can make two or three shots in a row and it changes the whole momentum and whole complexion of the game.''

    Miller, who scored 17 of his 21 points in the second half, made all four field goals and all four free throws he took in the third period.

    "I was getting some good looks ... and I felt my rhythm was there,'' Miller said. "I just didn't get enough shots in the first half.''

    Brad Miller added 20 points and 10 rebounds for Indiana, which handed New Orleans its fifth straight loss and third straight at home. The Hornets had won their first 11 games at home.

    Reggie Miller's third 3-pointer came with just over a minute left to give Indiana an 87-80 lead, prompting Jamaal Tinsley to look at the Hornets' bench and say, "Game over.''

    Tinsley nearly ate his words as Jamal Mashburn responded with a pair of 3-pointers. After Austin Croshere missed one of two free throws, New Orleans trailed 88-86 and had the ball with 20 seconds left.

    But Mashburn missed a mid-range jumper with two Pacers in his face, and after a free throw by Brad Miller, Stacey Augmon missed a desperation 3-pointer at the buzzer.

    Mashburn said Indiana defended his final shot -- which came off of a pick-and-roll -- better than he had anticipated, but he still felt it wasn't forced.

    "Make or miss, I'd take the shot again,'' Mashburn said. "I was in rhythm at that particular time.''

    Hornets coach Paul Silas also defended Mashburn's decision.

    "It was Mashburn's shot,'' Silas said. "I do not have a problem with Mashburn's play. He has gone above and beyond the call of duty.''

    Mashburn finished with 24 points, while Jamaal Magloire had 15 points and 10 rebounds. Elden Campbell added 14 off the bench for New Orleans and David Wesley scored 11, including three 3-pointers. But the Hornets were without guard Baron Davis, their best penetrator, after he left with back spasms nine minutes into the game.

    In the fourth quarter, New Orleans had trouble getting inside and never went to the foul line. They often settled for outside shots but hit only three of their first 14.

    Silas said losing Davis, who averages nearly 18 points a game, may have been the difference.

    "You miss one of your most potent weapons. It's tough to manufacture points,'' Silas said.

    Jermaine O'Neal scored 14 for Indiana, while Ron Artest and Croshere each scored 10. Croshere hit a 3-pointer early in the fourth quarter to answer a Wesley 3-pointer that gave New Orleans a brief 74-72 lead.

    The Hornets' late shooting trouble was a contrast from the first half, when New Orleans shot nearly 48 percent and was up by as much as 14 points.

    A 13-0 first-quarter run gave New Orleans a 25-12 lead, and the Hornets were able to keep the lead in double digits for much of the half.

    Mashburn had 11 first-half points and his turnaround near the top of the key gave New Orleans a 49-39 lead going into halftime.

    Game notes

    New Orleans made all of its free throws but only went to the line eight times, while Indiana went 18-for-22 from the foul line. ... Indiana, which led 72-71 after three quarters, is 22-2 when leading heading into the final period. ... Magloire, who has started because of an early season knee injury to Campbell, has 10 double-doubles this season. ... The Pacers have held opponents below 90 points in four of their last six games.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 89 86
    FGM-FGA 33-81 (.407) 36-86 (.419)
    3PM-3PA 5-17 (.294) 6-17 (.353)
    FTM-FTA 18-22 (.818) 8-8 (1.000)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 10-43 10-47
    Assists 21 23
    Turnovers 13 17
    Steals 11 6
    Blocks 7 7
    Fast Break Points 4 2
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 14 (1/0) 21 (0/0)

    Top Performers

    New Orleans
    Brad Miller Miller
    Points: 20
    Reb: 10
    Ast: 2
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 2
    Jamaal Magloire Magloire
    Points: 15
    Reb: 10
    Ast: 1
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 5