"Were we playing Chicago?'' he asked with a smile.
Brad Miller had 26 points and 14 rebounds, Ron Mercer added 16
points and Artest 12 as the Indiana Pacers beat the Bulls 101-86
Friday night in the first meeting between the teams since last
season's seven-player trade.
Artest brought a much needed defensive toughness to Indiana and
has made his mark by shutting down the other team's leading scorer.
This time it was Rose, who missed his first eight shots before
hitting a short jumper late in the first. He scored 10 points in
the third quarter to somewhat salvage an otherwise poor
performance. Rose scored 18 points on 7-for-24 shooting.
"I don't ever remember missing eight in a row,'' said Rose,
averaging 22.6 points. "I missed them when I was open, I missed
layups and missed uncontested shots. (Artest) gets credit for
playing hard, but their whole team did a good job of paying
attention to me.''
Artest, a first-round draft pick by Chicago in 1999, was quick
to mention that Rose scored most of his points when he wasn't in
the game. Artest played five minutes in the fourth as most of the
starters were rested in the second half.
"When guys score that many, it's not all on me,'' he said. "He
was trying to get to the hole and I was just beating him to the
The happy homecoming didn't last long, though.
The Pacers never trailed, scoring 15 straight points early in
the first quarter. Brad Miller made all five of his shots in the
second quarter, went 9-for-12 from the field and had 22 points and
10 rebounds in the first half. He sat out the fourth quarter.
Miller, Mercer and Artest combined to shoot 23-for-38 from the
The Pacers closed the first half with a 14-2 run -- Miller scored
eight -- for a 68-44 halftime lead.
"It's always fun to play against a former team,'' Miller said.
The Pacers snapped only their second two-game losing streak of
the season. For Mercer, a win outweighed any emotional ties toward
"We had to win and that was the most important thing,'' he
said. "We can't worry about who we used to play for. I'm more
concerned about this team and winning. It's always fun to play well
against a team you were on, but it's better when you win.''
Chicago had been playing better lately, winning five of six. But
they never appeared in sync offensively, taking a few wild shots
and shooting only 40 percent. Marcus Fizer led the Bulls with 26
points and 12 rebounds and Donyell Marshall had 15 points.
The teams meet again Saturday night in Chicago.
"We know (Jalen) can come out tomorrow and all those shots will
go in,'' Artest said. "He's that kind of shooter.''
Coach Isiah Thomas said O'Neal will miss at least a week.
...Indiana's Jonathan Bender scored one point in four minutes after
missing the last three games with a sore left calf. ...The Bulls
used the second-round pick they received in the trade on Lonny
Baxter, who played three minutes and missed his only shot -- a
3-pointer. ... Reggie Miller had six rebounds to become the eighth
player in team history with 3,700. ... The Pacers are 11-0 when
scoring over 100 points and 11-1 against sub-.500 teams.