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Pacers continue recent dominance of Knicks at home

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Even the usually calm Jamaal Tinsley had to
show some emotion, pounding his chest as the disappointment of a
slow start faded with each jumper.

Ron Artest scored 27 points, Tinsley had 14 points and 12
assists and Brad Miller had 19 points as the Indiana Pacers beat
the New York Knicks 107-94 on Friday night.

What once was one of the fiercest rivalries in the NBA -- the
teams met six times in the playoffs in the 1990s -- has become
one-sided in Indiana's favor. The Pacers have won at least two
games against the Knicks in each of the last five seasons,
including eight of the last nine at home.

The Pacers had a 17-point first-half lead sliced to three in the
fourth mostly because of a career-high tying 33 points by New
York's Kurt Thomas.

Indiana though used a 23-7 run late in the fourth and held
Thomas to only one field goal in the final 8 minutes to improve to
3-0 at home. Tinsley hit two crucial mid-range jumpers and a
3-pointer in the closing minutes.

He was only shooting 18 percent from the field this season, but
thumped his chest with his right fist after hitting a 22-footer
that pushed the lead back to nine.

"I was just so happy about hitting a big-time shot like that,''
said Tinsley, who missed shootaround with an upper respiratory
infection. "It wasn't anything against the Knicks.''

Tinsley banked in a leaning jumper as the Pacers regained a
double-digit lead, then hit his first 3 of the season for a 102-86
lead as they cruised the rest of the game.

"Part of the game is you're going to miss shots. I just have to
keep with it,'' Tinsley said. "That 3 felt good. That's what I
need to start doing more -- taking the open shots.''

Thomas, who made seven straight shots during one stretch,
rallied New York from a 13-point halftime deficit, as he made
consecutive baskets early in the fourth to cut it to 79-75.

With his back to the basket, Thomas pushed back Miller in the
paint, spun around him and drew the foul. He missed the basket but
sank both free throws to make it 82-79.

Then, Tinsley and the Pacers took over. They shot 64 percent in
the fourth and led by as many as 19 points after a 3-pointer by
Artest.

Jermaine O'Neal scored 18 points, and Al Harrington added 14 for
the Pacers.

Allan Houston, Charlie Ward and Lee Nailon each scored 14 for
the Knicks.

With all five Indiana starters in double figures, Knicks coach
Don Chaney said the Pacers presented matchup problems.

"It's very hard to identify one of their five guys on the floor
as a weak link,'' Chaney said. "We hoped that Tinsley would shoot
poorly. Tonight, he made shots.''

Artest, who scored 13 points in the first on 5-for-7 shooting,
ended the quarter with a breakaway dunk after intercepting a pass
by Howard Eisley for a 38-25 lead.

Artest had another steal late in the second, this time off Ward.
He tiptoed down the sideline in front of the Knicks' bench before
regaining his footing and finished off the turnover with another
basket. He finished just two points shy of his career high and held
Houston to 3-for-16 from the floor. Houston was averaging 28.4
points.

"I just try to deny, deny, deny and not let them get the
ball,'' Artest said. "I'm not sure if they're thinking about me,
but I'm thinking about them.''

Coach Isiah Thomas said Artest set the defensive tone for the
Pacers.

"The last couple of games, he's always accepted the challenge
of going out and defending the other team's top scorer,'' Thomas
said. "He does a good job shutting those guys down.''

The Pacers pushed their lead to 71-54 in the third, but the
Knicks ended the quarter on a 17-6 run. Ward scored the last five
points of the run on a 3-pointer and a driving layup.

Game notes
The Pacers' 4-1 start is their best after five games since
1989-90. ... The Pacers outrebounded Indiana 40-28. ... Ward limped
off the court and needed ice on his right ankle after a collision
with Artest. ... Thomas also scored 33 last March at Cleveland. ...
Latrell Sprewell was eligible to come off the injured list but did
not. He sat on the bench, squeezing an orange ball to strengthen
his broken right pinkie. ... Injured Pacers forward Austin Croshere
has started participating in non-contact drills. He has not played
this season because of a broken right foot.

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