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Little-used Brewer pilots Pacers to skid-ending win

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Jamison Brewer has been staying late after
practice for two seasons, working on his shot and learning the playbook while waiting for an opportunity.

When the chance finally arrived, Brewer showed he could
contribute.

Brad Miller scored a season-high 29 points and grabbed 12 rebounds and Reggie Miller had 20 points as the Indiana Pacers snapped a six-game losing streak with a 107-98 win against the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday night.

Brewer had five assists, four points and only one turnover in 21
minutes.

"This was the kind of win we needed and Jamison had a lot to do with it,'' Brad Miller said.

Brewer, the second-year point guard who had played in only five
games this year, had a career night. With Jamaal Tinsley slumping
and Ron Mercer unproductive off the bench, coach Isiah Thomas
turned to the quicker Brewer to run the offense, which he did almost flawlessly.

"We may have found something today,'' Thomas said. "You always talk about your players developing, and then one day you wake up and they arrive.''

It was the second game this week Brewer has received
considerable playing time. After Washington's Tyronn Lue burned the
Pacers in the third quarter of Tuesday's 83-78 loss to the Wizards,
Thomas played Brewer for nine minutes in the fourth.

Brewer would have been a senior at Auburn had he not declared for the draft after two seasons in college. He's been buried on the bench since coming into the league and spent most of this season on the injured list.

"It was kind of frustrating coming in,'' Brewer said. "You're so used to playing and then when you come into the league, everybody thinks they're supposed to be playing. Sometimes, you've just got to wait your turn.''

Brewer's impact was immediate, stripping the ball from Gary
Payton just 50 seconds after he came off the bench in the first.

Midway through the second, Reggie Miller stripped the ball from
Toni Kukoc and threw long pass to Brewer for a breakaway dunk.
Brewer finished the quarter with an assist to Al Harrington for a
20-footer at the buzzer for a 54-46 halftime lead. Harrington
scored 13.

Brad Miller took over in the third. He was 6-for-8 from the
floor for 15 points, as the Pacers shot 67 percent and led 86-66.

"I know this is one game, but hopefully we can learn a lot from
the last six games and what we were doing wrong,'' Brad Miller
said. "No one around here likes losing. When you're rolling and
winning, everybody's playing well and having fun.''

The Bucks, who trailed by as many as 21, opened the fourth with
a 13-2 run and pulled within nine. They couldn't sustain the rally
though and fell behind Washington for the final playoff spot in the
East.

Sam Cassell scored 23, Desmond Mason had 21 and Payton 19 for the Bucks, who lost their third straight.

"We're in the tough part of our schedule,'' Bucks coach George Karl said. "I don't know if we can overreact to the losses. Hopefully, we'll get a better stretch where we start building confidence with wins.''

Indiana's win came at the right time. The Pacers are going on
the road for four games, where they are only 13-17. The victory
allowed them to move back into first by one-half game over Detroit in
the Central Division. The Pacers (38-21) are tied with New Jersey
for the best record in the East, though the Nets have two wins over
Indiana.

The Pacers, Nets and Pistons are all 4-6 over their last 10
games.

Ron Artest returned for the Pacers after a serving a one-game
suspension for disciplinary reasons. Artest, who did not start for
the first time this year, scored 17 points and helped Indiana end
its longest losing skid since 1993.

Artest stayed out of trouble this time, but Tinsley was whistled
for a technical and ejected for arguing with Payton with 15 seconds
left in the game.

Game notes
Reggie Miller had a four-point play in the first quarter.
After the game he had some fun watching on television as Patrick
Ewing got his jersey retired. "I hope they're taking notes in
here,'' he shouted. "I hope all of you in here are coming up with
ideas.'' ... Tinsley bruised his lower back when he was knocked out
of bounds by Cassell. He returned later in the game. ... Late in
the fourth, Mason wrapped his arms around Brad Miller and pulled
him to the ground. No flagrant was called, but an irritated Miller
sank both free throws. ... Mercer received a DNP-CD.

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