Regular Season Series (Game 3 of 4)

Series starts 11/5

Game 1: Tuesday, November 5th
Game 2: Wednesday, January 15th
Game 3: Monday, January 27th
Game 4: Sunday, April 6th

Pacers 102

(33-12, 12-11 away)

Heat 95

(15-29, 9-12 home)

    7:30 PM ET, January 27, 2003

    AmericanAirlines Arena, Miami, FL

    1 2 3 4 T
    IND 25 21 24 32102
    MIA 27 21 24 2395

    Top Performers

    Ind: J. O'Neal 18 Pts, 11 Reb, 3 Blk

    Mia: B. Grant 12 Pts, 16 Reb, 1 Ast, 1 Stl, 1 Blk

    Artest file: Flagrant, tech, battles Riles, raises fingers

    MIAMI (AP) -- Pat Riley's face was still red 10 minutes after his team's latest loss, and no wonder. He had just endured two confrontations with tempestuous Ron Artest and another fourth-quarter collapse by the Miami Heat.

    Ron Artest

    Ron Artest pleads his case after being hit with a technical following one of two confrontations with Heat coach Pat Riley.

    Reggie Miller sank a 3-pointer with 1:10 left to put the Indiana Pacers ahead to stay, then added a layup with 41 seconds left in a 102-95 victory Monday night.

    The Heat lost after leading at the start of the fourth quarter for the eighth time, which left Riley fuming. He was also angry about Artest, who made an obscene gesture from center court as the Pacers rallied in the final quarter.

    Artest twice initiated testy exchanges with Riley in front of the Heat bench. The second time, Riley pushed Artest away.

    "The league ought to deal with that," Riley said. "That's crazy. I scream like crazy at officials and my players. I never, ever have talked to an opposing player, and I don't want anybody talking to me or coming over to my bench. ...

    "That's who he is. He's a hell of a player, but he has got to get that under control."

    Pacers coach Isiah Thomas defended his forward, saying Artest inspired Indiana's comeback from a nine-point second-half deficit. Artest scored 18 points for the Pacers, who won their fourth game in a row.

    "Ron gave us the courage in this game to just compete," Thomas said. "He was competing so hard, it almost made the rest of the team feel they weren't playing as hard as they could."

    Artest's first exchange with Riley came in the opening quarter. Riley and Caron Butler received technical fouls for contending Artest had fouled Butler while jostling for position during a dead ball. As Riley continued to complain, Artest walked up to the coach and joined the argument.

    "Don't talk to me," Riley angrily told Artest.

    Peace prevailed until the fourth quarter. With 8:13 left, Artest was called for a flagrant foul when he ran over Butler as they chased a loose ball out of bounds. Butler sank both free throws to put Miami ahead 81-76.

    Then, two minutes later, Artest hit a driving scoop shot, was fouled and walked toward the Miami bench with his right arm flexed. As he and assistant coach Keith Askins had words, Artest brushed against Riley. They began shouting at each other, and Riley shoved Artest away.

    "Coach Riley was into it," Artest said. "Their bench was into it. We were into it. That's how it's supposed to be. I didn't think I was that close to him."

    Artest was called for a technical. After Miami's Eddie Jones missed the free throw, Artest sank his free throw to cut Miami's lead to 83-82. He then backpedaled up the court, holding aloft the index finger of his right hand and the middle finger of his left hand.

    "That was bad on my part," Artest said. "I shouldn't have done that. I should know better."

    Artest and teammate Brad Miller each have four flagrant fouls, the league high. Earlier this month, Artest 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.

    Reggie Miller's 3-pointer over former teammate Travis Best put Indiana ahead 96-95. Miller then beat Best on a backdoor cut, took a pass from Brad Miller and hit a layup to make it 98-95.

    With the Heat down by three in the final minute, Malik Allen committed a turnover and Jones missed a 3-pointer. Al Harrington sank two free throws with 19 seconds left to clinch the win.

    "We don't mentally hang in there at the end of a game," Riley said. "The team is playing hard, and they deserve to win. They can kick themselves for not finishing games."

    Reggie Miller scored 21 points to lead the Pacers. Butler had 22 points for Miami, and Best added 20.

    Game notes

    Butler was held to a season-low two points against Indiana in the last meeting. ... The Pacers are 3-0 against Miami, ensuring that they'll win the season series for the first time in five years. ... The Pacers, who have the NBA's best home record at 21-1, improved to 12-11 on the road.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 102 95
    FGM-FGA 35-72 (.486) 37-84 (.440)
    3PM-3PA 6-14 (.429) 3-11 (.273)
    FTM-FTA 26-39 (.667) 18-23 (.783)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 12-43 7-36
    Assists 14 20
    Turnovers 13 8
    Steals 6 9
    Blocks 5 6
    Fast Break Points 2 6
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 21 (1/1) 29 (2/0)

    Top Performers

    Jermaine O'Neal O'Neal
    Points: 18
    Reb: 11
    Ast: 0
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 3
    Brian Grant Grant
    Points: 12
    Reb: 16
    Ast: 1
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 1