Saturday , Mar , 18 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

Pacers down Kings to spoil Artest’s return to Indiana

Indianapolis, IN (Sports Network) – Danny Granger scored 23 points as Indiana
stormed back from a 16-point deficit to down the Sacramento Kings, 98-93, in
Ron Artest’s return to Conseco Fieldhouse.

After a tumultuous tenure with the Pacers, Artest was shipped out of town on
January 25 for Peja Stojakovic, who scored 20 points and collected 12 rebounds
in his first game against his former team. Artest, meanwhile, finished with 18
points on 6-of-22 shooting.

He was greeted with a spattering of boos.

“If there was a fight between the fans who loved me or booed me, I think the
boos would have won,” Artest said. “It did not affect my game.”

Jamaal Tinsley had 20 points off the bench for the Pacers, including a couple
of key baskets in the final minutes. Stephen Jackson posted 15 in the win.

Mike Bibby scored a team-high 22 points and Brad Miller added 17 points and
eight boards for Sacramento, which had a five-game winning streak snapped.

The Pacers trailed by as many as 16 in the first half and were down 11 at the
break, but used a 7-0 burst in the early stages of the third quarter to pull
within three. They clawed all the way back and evened the game at 64-64 with
five minutes remaining in the stanza after Granger’s driving layup.

After three quarter the Kings led by just one, 76-75, and the game stayed
close down the stretch.

Sacramento took an 88-87 lead with 4:07 to play on a Miller jumper, but the
Pacers rattled off eight straight points to forge ahead. Tinsley started the
run with two straight buckets, and Jackson’s dunk capped it with 1:46
remaining to make it 95-88.

Indiana held Sacramento to just one field goal the rest of the way.

The Kings flew out to a 36-20 first quarter lead behind 10 points from Bibby
and eight from Artest.

Sacramento started the game with an 13-4 spurt, which was capped by a Bibby
hook shot just under three minutes in. Then, after a three-ball by Jackson,
the Kings rolled off eight unanswered points to assume a 21-7 advantage to
take command.

The Kings shot 70 percent (16-of-23) in the quarter.

“Things weren’t looking great after the first quarter,” said Indiana head
coach Rick Carlisle.

The Pacers’ defense tightened from there, however, and Sacramento managed to
make just 27 percent of its shots in the second frame. As a result, Indiana
was able to pull within 11, 52-41, by halftime.

Game Notes

The Kings are 15-8 with Artest, while the Pacers are 12-9 since acquiring
Stojakovic…Indiana is 20-11 at home this season…The Kings are just 11-21
away from ARCO Arena…The Pacers lead the season series, 2-0.