Friday , Dec , 31 , 2004 C.Y. Ellis

Indiana Pacers Team Report – December 31

=== Indiana Pacers Team Report – December 31 ===

(Sports Network) – Jermaine O’Neal scored a game-high 31 points and grabbed
seven rebounds to lead the Indiana Pacers over the New Jersey Nets, 96-83, on
Thursday at Continental Airlines Arena.

The Pacers had O’Neal for the contest after a federal judge ruled Thursday to
uphold the reduction of the player’s suspension. Last week, an arbitrator
ruled O’Neal could play after serving 15 games of the 25-game suspension he
received for fighting with Detroit fans in last month’s well-publicized brawl.

However, the federal judge’s decision was needed to make the reduction
permanent, as the NBA challenged the arbitrator’s initial ruling.

Austin Croshere added 17 points and Jeff Foster tallied a double-double with
16 points and 16 boards for the Pacers, who won their third straight game.

The All-Star O’Neal has averaged 23 points and 10.5 rebounds in the four games
he has played since returning from his suspension. He has recorded two double-
doubles in those games.

The Pacers are off until Tuesday when they host the Milwaukee Bucks. It will
be the third meeting of the season between the clubs. The Bucks won the
previous two, picking up a win at the Bradley Center and at Conseco
Fieldhouse.

Indiana and the Bucks will meet one final time after Tuesday’s games. The
Bucks are scheduled to host the Pacers at the Bradley Center on March 28,
2005.

IND