Regular Season Series (Game 4 of 4)

Series starts 12/22

Game 1: Saturday, December 22nd
Game 2: Friday, February 22nd
Game 3: Monday, April 8th
Game 4: Tuesday, April 16th

Pacers 99

(41-40, 17-24 away)

Cavaliers 95

(29-52, 20-21 home)

    7:00 PM ET, April 16, 2002

    Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, OH

    1 2 3 4 T
    IND 29 26 18 2699
    CLE 22 21 23 2995

    Top Performers

    Ind: J. O'Neal 34 Pts, 7 Reb, 3 Ast, 2 Blk

    Cle: A. Miller 21 Pts, 8 Reb, 9 Ast, 1 Stl

    Pacers still in the hunt, but they need help

    CLEVELAND (AP) -- Once again, the Indiana Pacers did what was necessary for survival. Now they need one more win -- and some help from someone else.

    Jamaal Tinsley

    Andre Miller, right, arrives too late to stop the Pacers' Jamaal Tinsley.

    Needing a victory to keep their shaky playoff hopes alive, the Pacers got 34 points from Jermaine O'Neal and held on for their fourth straight victory, 99-95 over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday night.

    "We're doing all we can do right now," Pacers coach Isiah Thomas said. "Hopefully, next year we won't be in this position."

    Ron Artest made several huge plays in the fourth quarter for the Pacers, who nearly blew a 17-point second-half lead and their season along with it.

    With the victory, Indiana (41-40) moved into a tie with Milwaukee (41-40) and Toronto (41-40) for the final two spots in the Eastern Conference playoffs.

    The Pacers have to win their home finale Wednesday night against Philadelphia to have any chance of making the playoffs for the 12th time in 13 years. The Bucks will play at Detroit and the Raptors will end the regular season at home against the Cavs.

    Indiana needs some help to get in. If the Pacers lose or end up tied with either team, the Pacers' season will be over because they lose tiebreakers to both Milwaukee and Toronto.

    "We can only worry about ourselves," Reggie Miller said. "All we can do is play hard and see what happens."

    Cleveland coach John Lucas, whose team played hard but came up short in its home finale, assured Thomas that the Raptors won't have it easy.

    "We'll play hard," Lucas said. "I can promise you that."

    After the final horn, the Pacers hurried into their locker room for a score update from Milwaukee. When Ray Allen hit a late 3-pointer to put the Bucks up by 12, Miller had seen enough.

    "That's it," he said, turning away from the TV in a tiny trainer's room packed with Indiana players and coaches. "Let's go."

    The Pacers, who saved their season by beating Toronto and Milwaukee in the past week, then headed to the airport for the short flight back to Indianapolis, knowing there's at least one more big game to be played.

    "This has been fun," said Brad Miller, who scored 13 points. "Crazy, but fun. Hopefully, this will all work out."

    Andre Miller scored 21 points and Zydrunas Ilgauskas 20 for the Cavs, who rallied in the second half and nearly put an end to Indiana's playoff dreams.

    With O'Neal forced to sit out for 2:55 of the fourth with five fouls, Cleveland closed to 85-84 on Ilgauskas's basket with 4:38 left. O'Neal returned with 4:16 to go, and the Pacers responded the moment he walked back on the floor.

    Indiana led 89-86 when Artest outhustled two Cavs for an offensive rebound, tipping the ball outside and leading to a basket by O'Neal, who caught a behind-the-back pass from Jamaal Tinsley.

    O'Neal scored again as Indiana went up 93-88 with 1:54 left.

    The Cavs got within 93-92 on Brian Skinner's dunk over O'Neal, but Skinner missed a foul shot that would have tied it. After O'Neal misfired, Artest grabbed the rebound by wrestling the ball away from Wesley Person and scored to make it 95-92.

    "I was doing anything it takes to win," Artest said. "I had to keep us in the playoffs."

    Tinsley, who had 14 assists, and Reggie Miller each made two free throws to seal it and the Pacers could relax -- for a few hours.

    Artest finished with 19 points, 10 rebounds and three steals, including one in the fourth when he stripped Ilgauskas in the backcourt and converted a three-point play.

    "I saw it was the big guy," Artest said. "I'm the little guy, so I just snuck up and took it."

    O'Neal, a strong candidate to be the league's most-improved player this season, showed a full repetoire of inside moves while scoring 22 points in the first half as the Pacers opened a 55-43 lead.

    Game notes

    Indiana is 2-1 against Philadelphia this season. Jalen Rose, traded to Chicago on Feb. 19, was the Pacers' leading scorer in both wins. ... Cavs F Jumaine Jones picked up five fouls in just six minutes in the first half. ... Miller, the NBA's assists leader, is the first Cleveland player to lead the league in an offensive category for a season since Mark Price shot .948 from the free-throw line in 1992-93. ... The Cavs finished 20-21 at home for the second straight year.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 99 95
    FGM-FGA 32-75 (.427) 33-76 (.434)
    3PM-3PA 3-9 (.333) 4-10 (.400)
    FTM-FTA 32-43 (.744) 25-34 (.735)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 12-39 10-38
    Assists 23 23
    Turnovers 11 11
    Steals 11 6
    Blocks 4 8
    Fast Break Points 5 5
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 24 (1/0) 28 (2/0)

    Top Performers

    Jermaine O'Neal O'Neal
    Points: 34
    Reb: 7
    Ast: 3
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 2
    Andre Miller Miller
    Points: 21
    Reb: 8
    Ast: 9
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 0