Pacers lose 11th straight road game

ATLANTA (AP) -- Was it a block or was it a foul?

Theo Ratliff blocked Jermaine O'Neal's potential game-winning dunk in the final seconds Saturday night to help the Atlanta Hawks to a 92-89 victory over Indiana, sending the Pacers to their 11th consecutive road loss.

O'Neal felt he was fouled, but no call was made.

"No matter how much you harp on it, it's not going to change anything,'' O'Neal said. "They didn't make the call, so I'm going with it. If they had made the call, the game would've been over.''

With 6.4 seconds remaining and Atlanta leading 90-89, O'Neal took an inbounds pass at the top of key and drove down the left side of the lane past Shareef Abdur-Rahim. O'Neal jumped for a dunk, but Ratliff, who was guarding Brad Miller, instead moved in for his ninth block.

"I was doing what I do, helping my teammates out on defense,'' Ratliff said. "Fortunately, I was able to get the block and not foul him.''

Dion Glover hit two free throws to end the scoring with six-tenths of a second remaining. The Pacers had one last attempt, but Austin Croshere missed a 3-pointer.

Glover scored the go-ahead bucket when O'Neal was called for goaltending with 6.4 seconds left.

O'Neal, coming off a 38-point effort in a win Friday over Memphis, scored 13 of his game-high 29 points in the fourth quarter.

The Pacers hadn't lost 11 straight on the road since the start
of 1990-91. Indiana's club record is 28 consecutive road losses
from Feb. 18, 1983-Dec. 21, 1984.

"We have to find a way to win,'' said O'Neal, whose team has the fourth-best record in the Eastern Conference (41-29). "Just when you see daylight, something else happens. I hope we don't have any more injuries or other emergencies.''

Glenn Robinson, who had a season-high 37 at Philadelphia the
night before, finished with 23. Terry had 20 points and 10 assists,
and Shareef Abdur-Rahim and Glover each scored 18.

"We beat two good teams and we want to win our games out,'' Robinson said. "We just need to win all of our games.''

Ratliff's nine blocks tied a season high he set Feb. 2 against
Orlando and matched 12 days later at Indiana. Atlanta won its third
straight at home over the Pacers.

"He changed a lot of shots,'' Hawks coach Terry Stotts said.
"I thought we gave a good effort, but I was disappointed that we
didn't come up with more loose balls. It seemed like half the time
Theo blocked shots, they ended up with it anyway and sometimes
scored. But I was happy with what we're getting done defensively.''

Miller returned after missing the five games with an injured
left foot. He had just five points and five rebounds in 30 minutes.

The Pacers led from the 7:31 mark of the first quarter until Glover's 3-pointer forced a 40-40 tie with six minutes left in the second.

Atlanta had an eight-point lead on two free throws by Robinson
at the end of the third quarter, but O'Neal hit a turnaround
3-pointer from the top of the key to put the Pacers ahead 78-77
with 8:23 remaining.

"I don't think you can ever afford to lose any games,'' Indiana
coach Isiah Thomas said. "It's tough that we dropped this one

Game notes
Ron Artest will return Wednesday against Philadelphia after
missing two games from his latest flagrant foul suspension. ...
With his fourth assist, Terry became the seventh Hawks player with
500 in one season. Mookie Blaylock reached the mark in 1994-95. Doc
Rivers, Lenny Wilkens, Eddie Johnson, Walt Hazzard and Pete
Maravich were the others. ... Less than 100 tickets remain for
Atlanta's game Tuesday against the Los Angeles Lakers. ... Jeff
Foster started his second game of the season in Brad Miller's
place, but played only 12 minutes.


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