Friday , Dec , 29 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

Armstrong lifts Pacers over Pistons

Auburn Hills, MI (Sports Network) – Darrell Armstrong knocked down a free
throw with just .9 seconds remaining for his only point of the game, as the
Indiana Pacers edged the Detroit Pistons, 93-92.

Jermaine O’Neal had a game-high 25 points and 13 rebounds for the Pacers, who
have won four of their last five games overall. Al Harrington added 16 points
and seven boards, while Stephen Jackson donated 15 points in the win.

O’Neal was probable for the game due to an illness, but came up big in
Indiana’s second straight win.

“I’m probably like 65 or 70 percent,” O’Neal said. “I felt a lot better today
than I have in the previous five days – I’ve been in the hospital and they
didn’t know what was wrong with me. They thought it might be like pneumonia,
or the beginnings of it, but I’m bouncing back now.”

Chauncey Billups had 23 points and a career high 12 rebounds for the Pistons,
who have lost two straight on the heels of a five-game win streak. Billups,
though, had to leave the game late because of a calf injury.

It was learned after the game that Billups will miss at least 10 days with the
injury.

Richard Hamilton had 22 points in the loss. Rasheed Wallace netted six points
with seven boards while being limited to just over 21 minutes because of an
illness.

O’Neal hit 1-of-2 from the free throw line with 1:25 to go to put the Pacers
up 89-83 before Detroit made a late run.

A tip-in by Antonio McDyess cut the Pistons’ deficit to four before Billups’
three from the left corner made it 89-88 with just 18 ticks left. Billups,
though, came up holding his right calf and had to sit out the rest of the
game.

“When I saw the rebound come out, I kind of went to plant and take off to go
after it, I felt a pop in there a little bit,” Billups said. “Carlos (Delfino)
got the rebound. When I went to take off to shoot, I was like, I just can’t
move. So I hurt it before the shot.

“I knew it wasn’t a cramp because I’ve gotten cramps before and I would have
been able to come back,” he continued. “We just have to monitor it and see.”

Jackson hit two from the charity stripe moments later, but Hamilton answered
with a layup to make it 91-90 with 10 seconds to play. Danny Granger was then
quickly fouled, but he left the game open as he hit only 1-of-2 from the line.

Hamilton took over and drove the line, only to be fouled by Jackson, his
sixth. Hamilton hit both his free shots to even things at 92-92 with three
seconds remaining.

The Pacers tossed in a long inbounds pass to Armstrong, who managed to draw a
foul out of Delfino. After missing his first free throw attempt, Armstrong
made good on his second try with just .9 seconds to play.

“I’ve been in that position a couple times,” said Armstrong. “The first one
felt good, so I knew I was going to make the second one.”

Wallace then attempted to throw the ball down court, but the inbound try ended
up out of bounds to seal Detroit’s fate.

Game Notes

Detroit had a three-game home winning streak snapped…O’Neal recorded his
16th double-double of the season…The Pacers posted 13 steals and have
double-digit steals in six of their last 11 games…Jamaal Tinsley had 14
points and nine assists in the win…Tayshaun Prince had 10 points in the
loss.

DET IND