Artest, Pacers throttle Nets
Indianapolis, IN (Sports Network) – Ron Artest poured in a season-high 30
points and added six rebounds, as Indiana blasted New Jersey, 102-90, at
Jermaine O’Neal added 20 points and grabbed seven boards for the Pacers, who
have won two straight games. Anthony Johnson contributed 19 points and Stephen
Jackson netted 15 with seven assists in the win.
Vince Carter had a team-high 18 points and Lamond Murray scored 12 for the
Nets, who lost for just the second time in their past five contests. Richard
Jefferson posted only seven points on 3-of-9 shooting in the loss.
Indiana trailed 14-9 before reeling off 10 straight points, keyed by seven
from Artest and three by O’Neal, to forge ahead. The Pacers led by as many as
seven points in the first quarter before holding a 28-23 edge after one.
The combination of Artest and Jackson scored 23 first-quarter points and went
9-of-9 from the field. Artest was a perfect 5-of-5 and scored 13 points while
Jackson added 10.
In the second, Indiana missed its first seven shots, which was actually 10
consecutive misses dating back to the opening period, but the Nets could not
capitalize. A slew of foul shots, as well as poor New Jersey shooting, kept
the Nets at bay before Artest’s bucket near the midpoint widened the lead to
37-29. Fred Jones’ basket in the final two minutes extended the cushion to 12
and the Pacers halftime lead was 53-41.
Indiana, though, blew the game open in the third quarter as it outscored the
Austin Croshere’s three-pointer with around 7 1/2 minutes remaining in the
period widened the cushion to 66-45 and the margin increased to 25 points
moments later. The Pacers held a commanding 88-61 lead after 36 minutes.
New Jersey made the final score look respectable as it took advantage of the
Pacers bench in the waning minutes, but the Nets never seriously threatened in
the fourth quarter.
Artest was 10-of-15 from the floor…The Pacers shot 52 percent from the field
(36-of-69), while New Jersey made only 35-of-82 shots (43 percent)…Indiana
has won seven of the last 10 matchups…The Pacers have taken five of the last
seven meetings at home versus New Jersey.