Without O'Neal, Jackson leads Pacers past Bulls

CHICAGO (AP) -- Stephen Jackson and the Pacers have been through
enough adversity that when Jermaine O'Neal went down with a
sprained ankle in the first half nobody panicked.

Jackson scored 21 of his 29 points in the second half and
delivered a key assist to Anthony Johnson with 3.9 seconds
remaining to send the short-handed Indiana Pacers to a 91-89
victory over the Chicago Bulls on Saturday night.

"This team has been through all kinds of situations. Jermaine's
been out, Jamaal (Tinsley) been out. This team has learned to deal
with anything," Jackson said. "Guys don't worry about who's out
there. We know how to compete."

Already without Ron Artest, who has been inactive for the last
month, the Pacers had another setback. O'Neal sprained his left
ankle with 6:46 left in the second quarter and never returned to
the bench. O'Neal attempted to block Kirk Hinrich's shot and landed
on Hinrich's foot. O'Neal will be re-evaulated on Sunday.

With the score tied at 89 with 8.7 seconds to go, Indiana called
a timeout. As time ticked down, Jackson held the ball on the left
side and then found Johnson cutting to the basket. He hit the shot
and was fouled by Ben Gordon. Johnson missed the free throw, and
the Bulls called a timeout.

"I was trying to get the last shot, that's what Rick (Carlisle)
told me. That was my main focus. But A.J. (Johnson) made a heads-up
play. His man (Gordon) got caught sleeping and he made a back-door
play," said Jackson.

The Bulls just missed a chance to send the game into overtime.
Gordon drove to the hoop and made the basket, but the officials
quickly waved it off because it came after the buzzer. The call was
upheld after the officials watched the replay.

Gordon said he was concentrating on Jackson when Johnson went to
the hoop.

"I was kind of watching to see what Jackson did. Then he caught
me looking at Jackson too long. Johnson came right under the hoop
and got the layup," Gordon said.

Jeff Foster and Austin Croshere each added 12 points off the
bench for Indiana, and Johnson had 10.

Leading 81-79 with 4:40 left, Indiana extended its lead on Fred
Jones' 3-pointer. Danny Granger then hit a long jumper to put the
Pacers up 86-79 with 3:03 left.

Chicago closed within three with 1:15 to play. Andres Nocioni
had a three-point play and Gordon got open for a jumper. Jackson
answered for Indiana with a basket, but Nocioni converted a
three-point play for Chicago to cut the deficit to two.

After Granger missed a shot, Hinrich picked up the loose ball
and was fouled. He hit two free throws with 8.7 seconds left to tie
it at 89.

The Pacers trailed by 12 early in the third quarter but managed
to stay in it by getting to the free throw line. They finished
30-for-39 after attempting only 15 free throws in a loss to
Washington on Friday night.

"We had a nice rhythm going. We just started fouling. We had
about 10 more field goals at the half, yet it was still a game.
Usually you are running away with a game like that. It is obviously
a big problem," Bulls coach Scott Skiles said.

Nocioni finished with 15 points and eight rebounds for Chicago.
Darius Songaila added 14 points.

Indiana outscored Chicago 21-5 during a 7-minute span in the
third quarter. Jackson started with a dunk and Croshere followed
with back-to-back 3s. Jackson had a three-point play to give
Indiana a 64-60 lead with 3:33 left. Jackson scored nine points
during the run and had 14 points and three steals in the quarter.

Bulls forward Tyson Chandler, who signed a six-year, $63 million
contract in the offseason, was scoreless in 4 minutes and picked up
five fouls.

Luol Deng finished with 12 points and seven rebounds for
Chicago, and Gordon had 13 points.

Game Notes
Tinsley was inactive with a torn right biceps and lingering
soreness in his right elbow. He has missed eight straight games and
15 total this season due to an assortment of injuries. ... O'Neal
scored 12 points and had five rebounds before leaving the game.

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