Thursday , Apr , 27 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

Pacers blow out Nets to take series lead

Indianapolis, IN (Sports Network) – Jermaine O’Neal dropped in 37 points and
pulled down 15 rebounds to lead the Indiana Pacers to a 107-95 victory over
the New Jersey Nets in Game 3 of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal set at
Conseco Fieldhouse.

The Pacers now lead the best-of-seven series 2-1 with Game 4 scheduled to be
played on Saturday in Indiana.

Anthony Johnson added 25 points and eight assists while Stephen Jackson
contributed 17 in the victory.

Peja Stojakovic returned to the starting lineup for the sixth-seeded Pacers
after missing Game 2 with a sore right knee and scored 10 points on 3-of-7
shooting from the floor.

Richard Jefferson and Vince Carter led the third-seeded Nets with 25 points
each. Jefferson was 13-of-14 from the free-throw line.

Jason Kidd had 14 points, six assists and six rebounds in the loss.

Trailing by four points at halftime, Indiana outscored New Jersey 27-15 in the
third quarter to take a 78-70 lead into the final frame. The key to the period
was a 10-2 run late as Stojakovic netted four-straight points during the
stretch to give the Pacers a 10-point advantage with about 2 1/2 minutes
remaining.

The Nets shot a dreadful 3-for-18 from the field in the third quarter.

In the fourth, Indiana continued to run in front as Johnson netted nine-
straight points for the Pacers as their lead ballooned to 94-82 with 5:38 left
in the contest.

Johnson scored 13 of his 25 points in the final quarter.

With 2:04 remaining, Danny Granger’s reverse layup sent the home crowd into a
frenzy as Indiana led 106-89.

The Nets closed out the opening quarter on a 9-1 run to lead 27-22 after the
first. Carter netted seven of the points, starting the surge with a three-
pointer from the right corner.

New Jersey ended the second quarter on a 10-4 surge to take a 55-51 lead into
halftime. Carter led the Nets with 21 points on 8-of-11 shooting from the
field. Kidd added 11 points and was a perfect 3-of-3 from beyond the arc for
New Jersey.

As a team, the Nets shot 54.1 percent from the field and were also 6-8 from
the three-point line in the first half.

O’Neal paced Indiana with 19 points on 7-of-9 shooting from the floor with six
boards. The Pacers also committed eight turnovers over the first two quarters.

Game Notes

The Pacers shot 52.3 percent from the field while the Nets shot 38.7
percent…Indiana outrebounded New Jersey 43-30…Pacers’ guard Jamaal Tinsley
did not play because of a sore right Achilles…Before the game, O’Neal was
fined $15,000 by the NBA for publicly criticizing officials after Indiana’s
loss to New Jersey in Game 2 on Tuesday.

IND NJN