Pacers halt Pistons’ win streak
Indianapolis, IN (Sports Network) – Jermaine O’Neal had 28 points and 15
rebounds as the Indiana Pacers cooled off the red-hot Detroit Pistons, 81-69,
in a battle of the two best teams in the Eastern Conference at Conseco
Reggie Miller added 22 points as he went 3-of-6 from three-point range and 7-
of-7 from the foul line for the Pacers, who have won five straight and 12 of
their last 13 overall.
“Reggie has played brilliantly the last week,” said Indiana head coach Rick
Carlisle. “Without him, I don’t know where we would be in this recent stretch.
Hid aggressiveness level has picked up the last 10 days.”
Ron Artest added 10 points and five steals for Indiana, which is off to its
best start in the franchise’s NBA history (33-11).
Corliss Williamson scored 17 points for the Pistons, who had their record-
tying 13-game winning streak snapped. Detroit had also previously won 13
consecutive contests from February 25 – March 20, 1990 en route to the second
of back-to-back NBA championships.
“We’ve got to stay together and keep our heads up,” said Wallace. We had a
long winning streak and it was great, but now its over. Now we just have to
start another one.”
Richard Hamilton contributed 15 and Ben Wallace grabbed a team-high 10
rebounds for the Pistons, who lost for the first time since a December 26
setback to New Jersey.
Indiana now leads the Pistons by 3 1/2 games for the top spot in both the
conference and the Central Division.
The Pacers began the game by scoring the first eight points, capped by
Artest’s field goal just over three minutes into the game. The margin grew to
14-2 on O’Neal’s jumper later in the frame and Indiana led by as many as 13 in
the period. The Pacers held a 20-9 cushion after one.
“They did a great job of defending us,” said Hamilton. “We got off to a slow
start. We couldn’t make shots in the first quarter. They made a run when they
were supposed to make one. They were able to make their shots and they won the
Wallace’s reverse layup with 5:45 remaining in the second quarter brought
Detroit within 10 at 34-24, but Miller’s three with 2:33 left increased the
gap to 44-30. The Pistons then closed out the half on a 10-0 spurt, culminated
by Elden Campbell’s jumper, to get within 44-40 at the half.
O’Neal had 16 points, while Williamson scored 11 in the opening 24 minutes.
Indiana started the third quarter on an 11-3 run to claim a 55-43 edge as
Miller’s three with 7:23 left in the period capped the early spurt. Detroit
would not go away as it countered with a 7-0 spurt to trim the gap to 55-50
with 5:20 left in the frame. The Pacers led 66-57 after three periods.
Al Harrington’s three-pointer with 9:35 left in the game staked Indiana to a
72-59 lead, but the Pistons crept within nine moments later. However, Miller
then drained a three-pointer with 7:01 remaining to make it 75-63 and Detroit
never threatened again.