Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 4)

Series starts 12/28

Game 1: Saturday, December 28th
Game 2: Tuesday, December 31st
Game 3: Wednesday, February 12th
Game 4: Tuesday, March 11th

Hornets 84

(18-13, 7-11 away)

Pacers 91

(22-8, 14-1 home)

    Coverage: COX

    7:00 PM ET, December 28, 2002

    Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN

    1 2 3 4 T
    NO 21 14 24 2584
    IND 24 21 17 2991

    Top Performers

    NO: B. Davis 22 Pts, 2 Reb, 7 Ast, 2 Stl

    Ind: M. World Peace 23 Pts, 9 Reb, 1 Ast, 5 Stl, 3 Blk

    Deep Pacers keep mixing it up, winning

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Erick Strickland showed the Indiana Pacers how deep their bench can be.

    Strickland scored 12 of his 20 points in Indiana's decisive run as the Pacers defeated the New Orleans Hornets 91-84 on Saturday night.

    "It shows how deep of a team they are when your backup point guard can get 20 points in a game,'' New Orleans' Baron Davis said. "He's a good player, and he proved that he's very capable tonight.''

    Strickland, put in the lineup by coach Isiah Thomas to replace an ineffective Jamaal Tinsley, sparked a 16-9 surge over the final 3:21 for the Central Division-leading Pacers (22-8).

    "Coach wanted me to put them in position to win the game,'' said Strickland, who was signed by the Pacers in September. "I didn't know for sure if I was going to finish the game or not, but I wanted to. I was kind of surprised. It's one of the first times he stayed with me until the end of the game. I was just glad to help the team and be a part of it.''

    Davis scored 22 points for New Orleans, which overcame 26.5 percent shooting in the first half to rally from a 45-35 deficit and make the game close throughout the second half.

    George Lynch's layup with 3:32 remaining tied it at 75-75, but Strickland and the Pacers took over from there. Strickland made all three of his field goals and all six of his free throws to lead the final surge.

    "I thought he came in and did a great job, not only shooting, but defensively,'' Thomas said of Strickland. "I thought he could give us some energy and some movement.''

    Ron Artest scored 23 points to lead Indiana, Reggie Miller had 15 and forward Jermaine O'Neal added 12 in his first game since spraining his left knee at Houston on Dec. 18.

    "It's hard to guard us,'' Miller said. "We've got a lot of different guys who can score. The ball is coming from a lot of different places.''

    Jamal Mashburn scored 17 points for New Orleans, Elden Campbell came off the bench to score 18, and David Wesley had 10.

    "When you shoot 26 percent in the first half, you aren't going to beat anybody,'' Hornets coach Paul Silas said. "I don't think fatigue set in on them as it did for us, with that West Coast swing we just did. When your shots aren't going, it's on your legs, and we just didn't have the lift.''

    Miller hit two baskets and a free throw as the Pacers went on a 15-2 run over 3:19 of the first quarter to build a 17-8 lead before the Hornets came back to cut the deficit to 24-21 going into the second quarter.

    Game notes

    Pacers forward Brad Miller scored eight points and had six rebounds, ending his streak of five consecutive double-doubles of points and rebounds. ... The Hornets have hit just 41 percent from the field (238-of-584) in their last seven games, while opponents have hit nearly 50 percent (222-of-490). New Orleans has lost six of those games. ... Tinsley, third in the league in assists with an 8.2 average, had four in the first quarter, but just two thereafter, and was benched by Thomas for most of the second half. He had 10 or more assists in the three previous games.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 84 91
    FGM-FGA 34-94 (.362) 36-76 (.474)
    3PM-3PA 5-15 (.333) 4-12 (.333)
    FTM-FTA 11-16 (.688) 15-21 (.714)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 16-47 6-46
    Assists 18 18
    Turnovers 14 19
    Steals 10 10
    Blocks 5 11
    Fast Break Points 4 7
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 20 (1/0) 21 (1/0)

    Top Performers

    New Orleans
    Baron Davis Davis
    Points: 22
    Reb: 2
    Ast: 7
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 0
    Metta World Peace World Peace
    Points: 23
    Reb: 9
    Ast: 1
    Stl: 5
    Blk: 3