<
>

Miller lifts Pacers with 26 points

12/18/2001

ATLANTA (AP) -- Jeff Foster picked a good time for his only block
of the game.

Jermaine O'Neal gave Indiana the lead for good by making two
free throws with 23.4 seconds left, and Foster swatted away Nazr
Mohammed's layup with 6 seconds left to help preserve the Pacers'
103-100 victory Tuesday night over the Atlanta Hawks.

"I think Nazr thought there was less time than there really
was," Foster said. "He tried to go up pretty quick and I was able
to get a piece of it."

Shareef Abdur-Rahim missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer that would
have tied it, snapping the Hawks' three-game winning streak.

Reggie Miller, who led the Pacers with 26 points, made two free
throws after Foster's block. O'Neal finished with 20 as Indiana won
for just the second time in five games.

Abdur-Rahim led the Hawks with 28 points, and Jason Terry added
27. They led by eight with 4:19 left but scored just two points
after that.

"It was our game to win," Terry said. "We just didn't take
it."

Abdur-Rahim's runner gave the Hawks a 100-99 lead with 1:04
left, just 13 seconds after a similar basket was wiped out by a
charging call.

With Atlanta double-teaming Miller on the ensuing possession,
O'Neal broke free under the basket and was fouled by Mohammed. He
made both free throws for the Pacers' second lead since the first
half.

O'Neal was shooting 67 percent from the line before making
6-of-8.

"If I'm going to demand the ball, I've got to knock down my
free throws, especially in the clutch," O'Neal said. "I was just
in a rhythm. Usually, if I'm struggling from the field, I struggle
from the line. I didn't do that tonight."

Little-used Hawks forward DeMarr Johnson hit back-to-back
3-pointers moments after shooting an airball, boosting Atlanta's
lead to 12 points in the fourth quarter.

The lead was still eight points before Indiana rallied. O'Neal
made two free throws and Miller hit a 3-pointer before scoring a
three-point play, tying the game with 2:04 left.

"Reggie's made a lot of big plays in his career and he made a
couple tonight," said Hawks coach Lon Kruger. "He got the game
back even. They hit a couple of big shots, big 3s."

Atlanta led by double digits for most of the third quarter, but
neither team was inventive in the final minutes of the period,
running essentially the same play each possession. Rose scored 10
of his 14 points while posting up Dion Glover and Johnson, and the
Hawks ran a two-man game with Abdur-Rahim and Terry, who combined
for 19 of Atlanta's 26 points in the period.

"I've proven I can score in this league and it's a matter of my
time and making the shot," Rose said. "Things can always be
better individually. I just have to find ways to capitalize when I
get my chance and do other things on the court."

Indiana rookie point guard Jamaal Tinsley, who scored a
season-high 29 points against the Hawks on Nov. 20, had just seven.
He also picked up a needless foul after missing a layup in the
third quarter, wildly slapping at Mohammed's arms while glaring at
an official.

Game notes
Atlanta point guard Emanuel Davis missed his second
straight game with a broken nose. ... Both teams play again
Wednesday night. The Hawks travel to Washington, and Indiana
returns home to face Toronto. ... Johnson scored for the first time
since Dec. 7, when he had eight points against Orlando.