INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Al Harrington was winded, and his right knee
was aching. The minutes were taking a toll, but the crowd spurred
him on by chanting "Al! Al! Al!''
Ron Artest was on the right baseline looking for an open man,
and Harrington had one last play in him. He took the pass from
Artest, drove down the lane and converted the layup, finishing off
the best game of his NBA career.
Harrington scored a career-high 40 points, Brad Miller added 22
points and 11 rebounds and Artest had 24 points as the Indiana
Pacers beat the Atlanta Hawks 112-97 Monday night to become the
first Eastern Conference team to reach 20 wins.
"I did feel real good throughout, and things just came my way.
Our offense was clicking,'' said Harrington, who also had nine
Jamaal Tinsley added 14 assists for the Pacers (20-8), who
improved to 13-1 at home. They had lost three of four -- with all
three losses on the road.
Harrington, who had scored 26 points twice in his career, had 27
in the first half. He was stuck on 38 after missing two straight
jumpers late in the fourth quarter. He played a season-high 44
points and looked fatigued. But with 33 seconds left, he made his
"It was a big moment in his career,'' coach Isiah Thomas said.
"He wanted to get to 40 so bad.''
Harrington's shooting has been erratic this season as he worked
his way back into shape. On Dec. 24, he had 26 against Seattle, but
was scoreless last week against Houston. Against Atlanta, he looked
more like the player who was emerging as one of the top sixth men
last season before tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his
right knee on Jan. 23.
Making his third straight start at power forward in place of the
injured Jermaine O'Neal, Harrington made his first five shots and
passed his previous career high with a wide-open baseline 3-pointer
to end the first half.
"I thought there were a couple of times his game slipped in
other areas because he was so focused on scoring,'' Thomas said.
"But he got back into it.''
"Any time we score 97 points and don't win the game, you know
you've got problems on defense,'' Terry said. "They outhustled us,
and our transition defense was terrible. That was the worst
transition defense we played all year.''
The Hawks shot 49 percent but could never sustain a serious
rally. The Pacers, who led 64-54 at halftime, built their lead to
17 in the third before the Hawks closed to 95-86 midway through the
fourth on a 3-pointer by Glover.
Tinsley hit a jumper on the next possession, and the Pacers
never let the lead dip below double digits again.
The pounding down low, and several hard hits to the floor,
caused Harrington to wrap both of his knees with ice in the locker
"I felt real good out there tonight, but right now my knees are
killing me,'' Harrington said. "I've been working really hard the
last few weeks, and overall I feel good. My knees are sore, and I'm
just tired. But it's a good tired.''
Game notes O'Neal said he hoped to play Friday. ... The Hawks dropped
to 2-12 on the road. ...Conseco Inc. plans to file motions in
federal court to retain its naming rights to Conseco Fieldhouse.
Conseco plans to pay its annual $2 million bill by Jan. 1 to
continue the naming rights. The company filed for bankruptcy last
week. ... Lisa Leslie and Reggie Miller were selected as the USA
Basketball Female and Male Athletes of the Year. Miller was cited
for his contributions at the world championships.