INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Jermaine O'Neal didn't think he played his best game because he didn't surpass his career high for points.
O'Neal matched his best scoring output with 38 points and
grabbed 18 rebounds as the Indiana Pacers came back from a 19-point
deficit and beat the Memphis Grizzlies 101-92 on Friday night.
"He did everything,'' said teammate Reggie Miller, who started
the comeback in the third quarter and scored 14 points for Indiana.
"There's not one thing he didn't do tonight. He blocked shots, he
scored, he rebounded, he was an assist man on a few big plays, he
was diving on the floor. He did everything.''
Pacers coach Isiah Thomas has never seen O'Neal better.
"It was the most dominant game he has had here,'' Thomas said.
"He just took over the game. Tonight, he put us on his back, and
we rode him for as far as we could go.''
Indiana, playing again without the suspended Ron Artest, trailed
70-51 with 5:51 left in the third quarter. But Reggie Miller had
the first seven points during a 14-0 run as the Pacers held the
Grizzlies scoreless for almost 3½ minutes.
Miller finished with 10 in the period, and the Pacers pulled to
within 76-75 going into the final quarter.
O'Neal then scored 12 points to lead an 18-7 run that broke the
game open during the first seven minutes of the fourth quarter.
Indiana built a 93-83 lead and was never seriously threatened after
"It didn't matter if we were in man or zone, we couldn't stop
him,'' Memphis coach Hubie Brown said.
Person tried to help guard O'Neal, but didn't have much luck.
"He was good,'' Person said. "He was very, very good. Big
players step up, and Jermaine played like an All-Star tonight.''
Memphis dominated much of the game until Indiana started its
Indiana scored the game's first basket, but then went scoreless for nearly four minutes. Williams and Pau Gasol hit two buckets each as Memphis went on an 11-0 run. The Grizzlies led 26-16 at the quarter break and 55-43 at the half.
Artest was serving the first of a two-game suspension for his eighth flagrant foul of the season. He won't play again until next Wednesday. ... Stromile Swift, who was averaging 15.6 points -- six above his average -- over the past 14 games, finished with eight Friday. ... Pacers center Brad Miller missed his fifth consecutive game with a left ankle injury. He practiced Thursday and hopes to return in time for Saturday's game at Atlanta. ... Hundreds of fans missed the start of the game while they waited to pass through increased security checks. Conseco Fieldhouse management opened the doors 30 minutes earlier than usual and opened extra doors, but fans still had to wait in line.