Regular Season Series (Game 3 of 4)

Series starts 11/8

Game 1: Friday, November 8th
Game 2: Friday, January 3rd
Game 3: Wednesday, January 8th
Game 4: Tuesday, April 15th

Knicks 87

(12-20, 3-10 away)

Pacers 89

(25-10, 15-1 home)

    Coverage: FSMW

    7:00 PM ET, January 8, 2003

    Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN

    1 2 3 4 T
    NY 32 18 17 2087
    IND 26 17 26 2089

    Top Performers

    NY: K. Thomas 24 Pts, 8 Reb, 2 Ast, 4 Blk

    Ind: B. Miller 15 Pts, 11 Reb, 4 Ast

    Knicks miss three shots on final possession

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Allan Houston was in a familiar position, the ball in his hands with a chance to give the Knicks a victory. The result was familiar, too -- a miss and another loss.

     Ron Mercer

    Ron Mercer scored 19 points, Reggie Miller had 18 and the Indiana Pacers came away with an 89-87 victory Wednesday night as the Knicks missed three shots on their final possession.

    It was the third straight loss for the Knicks, all of them coming when they failed to convert in the final seconds.

    After Mercer made one of two free throws, Kurt Thomas missed a jumper from the lane, Michael Doleac missed a putback and Houston shot an off-target 3-pointer just before the final buzzer.

    "It's been three straight times we've lost like this and it can get discouraging," Houston said "I could have made that shot with my eyes closed. I did not have much time and I didn't get a good look because of that. Plus, Reggie was running at me."

    Houston also had a chance to give the Knicks at least a tie against Portland on Sunday, but drove in for a short jumper when they needed a 3-pointer. In a 3-point loss at Orlando on Monday, a desperation heave by Shandon Anderson fell short.

    Brad Miller added 15 points and 11 rebounds and Jermaine O'Neal had 16 points for the Pacers, who avenged a two-point loss in New York last Friday and improved to 15-1 at home.

    But it wasn't easy.

    Thomas took advantage O'Neal's foul problems, scoring 12 of his 24 points in the fourth quarter. After O'Neal was whistled for his fourth foul with 5:08 left in the third, Thomas -- only 6-for-14 through three quarters _ became New York's' first option. He made his first six shots of the fourth quarter and blocked one of O'Neal's.

    Thomas, who scored 33 against Indiana in November, put the Knicks ahead 84-82 with 4:17 left, but that was their last field goal for nearly four minutes.

    "We were dropping straight back into the lane instead of dropping back on Thomas," Mercer said. "We adjusted and started dropping back on him."

    Brad Miller's jumper tied the score and Reggie Miller's layup put the Pacers ahead for good.

    Latrell Sprewell, who had 20, had his pass to Thomas broken up by Erick Strickland. Mercer picked up the loose ball and executed a perfect 2-on-1 break with Reggie Miller for a layup.

    Ward missed 3-pointers on successive possessions before making one to make it 88-87 with 18 seconds left.

    Several Pacers wondered about Ward's shot selection, especially when Thomas was having success with his jumpers. The weren't the only ones trying to figure it out.

    "It's hard to second-guess now," Knicks coach Don Chaney said. "He had daylight, and he made the third one. I don't like to second-guess myself or my players."

    Mercer made one of two free throws, setting up New York's final look.

    The Knicks made 12 of their first 18 shots and led 30-20 late in the first. They took a 50-43 lead into halftime.

    New York, however, finished with its third straight loss by three or less points.

    "The guys are not going to get down even though we're not getting the wins we should be getting," Thomas said.

    Game notes
    The Pacers placed forward Austin Croshere on the injured list with a bruised rib cage and activated forward Jonathan Bender. ...The NBA players association filed an appeal on behalf of Pacers forward Ron Artest, who was suspended for three games without pay and fined $35,000 for hurling a television monitor and smashing a camera after a loss in New York. The union called the penalty ``both excessive and improper.'' ... Indy Racing League president Tony George was at the game. ... The Knicks are 3-10 on the road. ... Knicks F Clarence Weatherspoon did not travel after having oral surgery. ... Indiana's Al Harrington fouled out for the second straight game.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 87 89
    FGM-FGA 37-86 (.430) 35-75 (.467)
    3PM-3PA 5-13 (.385) 3-8 (.375)
    FTM-FTA 8-9 (.889) 16-17 (.941)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 11-44 5-35
    Assists 20 22
    Turnovers 12 12
    Steals 5 9
    Blocks 8 2
    Fast Break Points 5 7
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 19 (0/0) 15 (1/0)

    Top Performers

    New York
    Kurt Thomas Thomas
    Points: 24
    Reb: 8
    Ast: 2
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 4
    Brad Miller Miller
    Points: 15
    Reb: 11
    Ast: 4
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 0