Tuesday , Nov , 25 , 2003 C.Y. Ellis

NBA-best Pacers beat hapless Magic

=== NBA-best Pacers beat hapless Magic ===

Orlando, FL (Sports Network) – Jermaine O’Neal scored 22 points and grabbed 19
rebounds, as the Indiana Pacers downed the Orlando Magic, 89-78, at TD
Waterhouse Centre.

Ron Artest contributed 17 points for the Pacers, who won their fifth straight
game and remained atop the Central Division with an NBA-best record of 11-2.
Austin Croshere added 15 points and five boards over 22 minutes off the bench
in the victory. The Pacers, the only unbeaten team on the road in the NBA,
also received nine points from Reggie Miller.

Juwan Howard led the Magic with 17 points. Orlando played without star Tracy
McGrady, who did not dress due to a case of the flu. Gordan Giricek, Tyronn
Lue and Donnell Harvey each posted 13 points in the losing cause.

The Magic, who have dropped 13 in a row, are still winless since their
opening-night triumph and have not posted a victory in three games under new
head coach Johnny Davis, who took over after Doc Rivers was fired last week.

A tightly-contested opening quarter saw the teams knotted at 20 apiece.

The Magic surged in the first three minutes of the second period, courtesy of
an 8-0 run, to take a 28-20 lead. Indiana slowly chipped away, however, and a
Miller layup with 3:20 to go in the half evened the contest at 34-34. In the
final minute, Miller connected from three-point range to stake the Pacers to a
48-40 lead, but Giricek’s three-point play cut the Magic deficit to five as
the teams went into the break with Indiana leading, 48-43.

Artest put up eight points in the third quarter, including a layup that saw
the visitors push their lead to 59-50 with just over 4:30 to go in the frame.
Orlando was able to stay with the Pacers, though, as a Drew Gooden bucket with
under a minute to go capped the third-quarter scoring and the Magic were
within single digits, 65-56, as the fourth quarter began.

Indiana scored 12 of the first 19 points in the fourth quarter, though, and
increased its lead to 77-63 when O’Neal made a free throw. The Pacers did not
let up and cruised to victory.

Orlando, coming off a five-game road trip, is winless at home this season