Saturday , Nov , 20 , 2004 C.Y. Ellis

Motor City Mayhem: Indiana-Detroit ends in brawl

=== Motor City Mayhem: Indiana-Detroit ends in brawl ===

Auburn Hills, MI (Sports Network) – Ron Artest scored 24 points, as Indiana
defeated Detroit 97-82 in a game that was stopped late in the fourth quarter
due to a fight on the court that spilled into the stands and included the
fans.

The Pacers led a seemingly calm game by 15 points with 45 seconds left and
then things unraveled. Detroit’s Ben Wallace was fouled by Artest and the
Pistons center took exception to what he deemed a hard foul and gave Artest a
two-handed push to the face.

After that, the fighting continued by the scorers’ table as players came off
both benches to continue the melee on the court. The Detroit fans then lost
all control and began throwing cups filled with liquid and ice at Artest, who
was surprisingly staying out of harm’s way on top of the scorers’ table.
Artest was hit in the head with a flying cup and immediately raced into the
stands where he started punching the culprit.

“I love fans to be involved and cheer, but to throw things, that’s not what
our fans are like. There is no place for that for anybody,” said Detroit head
coach Larry Brown.

Indiana guard Stephen Jackson followed into the crowd, along with several
Pacer players, and started swinging away at the unruly fans.

After security tried to get the players out of the crowd, the game was called
with 45 seconds remaining. However, the fighting was not over as Detroit fans
continued to pelt the Pacers as the players were being escorted into the
locker room. The players and coaches were finally able to make it into the
tunnel, but not before all tempers were lost.

“I’m just embarrassed for our league and having our players be a part of
this,” said Brown.

This was the first game between these two teams since last year’s Eastern
Conference championship. The Pistons won last year’s series 4-2 before
eventually winning the NBA title.

Indiana will next visit Motown on March 25 and hosts the Pistons on Christmas
Day.

Jermaine O’Neal, who was also involved in a fight on his way to the locker
room, scored 20 points and grabbed 13 rebounds for the Pacers, who have won
three straight games. O’Neal apparently knocked a fan out cold after being hit
with a foreign object and charges might be pressed on the All-Star.

“We got a lot of guys injured and we’ll have to see because we have guys that
got banged up (in the fight),” said Indiana head coach Rick Carlisle.

Austin Croshere had 15 points while Jackson and Jamaal Tinsley each netted 13
in the win.

Richard Hamilton scored 20 points and Rasheed Wallace added 19 points and 10
boards for the Pistons, who have lost three of their last four games. Ben
Wallace, who was playing in his second game back following the death of his
brother, had 13 points and 10 rebounds in the loss.

Indiana led 23-21 late in the first quarter, but closed the period by scoring
11 of the final 17 points to garner a 34-27 edge after one. During the late
surge, Artest scored five points and Tinsley chipped in four.

The Pacers got some breathing room in the second period as they began the
quarter on a 17-4 flurry to take a 20-point lead. O’Neal had six points and
Eddie Gill scored five during the critical run, which made it 51-31 with just
under seven minutes left in the half.

The Pistons got as close as 15 later in the frame, but Indiana went into the
locker room with a 59-43 cushion.

Artest scored 18 points and O’Neal added 11 for the Pacers, who were 6-of-9
from three-point range in the first half. Hamilton had 10 points for Detroit,
which was only 16-of-41 from the field in the opening 24 minutes (39 percent).

The third quarter was tight throughout and Indiana took an 80-66 lead into the
final period.

However, in the fourth, the Pistons came storming back.

An 11-2 run to start the quarter, highlighted by five points from Lindsey
Hunter, trimmed the deficit to 82-77. Trailing 84-79 moments later, Detroit
had a chance to get within three, but Ben Wallace missed a running finger roll
from in close.

That miss proved costly, as Indiana rattled off seven straight points,
culminated by Jackson’s three-pointer, to push the lead to 91-79. The lead
rose to 15 moments later before the melee broke out.

DET IND