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Miller's second-half surge fuels Pacers' rally

1/1/2003

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

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.