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

Indiana Pacers Team Report – November 20

=== Indiana Pacers Team Report – November 20 ===

(Sports Network) – One night after an ugly incident marred their win in
Detroit, the Indiana Pacers return to the court to host the Orlando Magic at
Conseco Fieldhouse.

On Friday, 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.

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.

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.

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

Indiana, which is already dealing with several injuries and can ill-afford a
series of suspensions, is 3-1 at home this season.

Auburn Hills police are also investigating the incident to see if any criminal
charges will be filed.

Indiana took three of four from the Magic last season, but could be at a
disadvantage tonight, as the road team in this series has won five of the last
six meetings. Orlando, which has dropped five of seven and eight of the last
11 overall meetings, has also dropped seven of nine and 10 of 13 in Indiana.