Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 4)

Series starts 10/29

Game 1: Wednesday, October 29th
Game 2: Friday, December 19th
Game 3: Tuesday, January 20th
Game 4: Sunday, April 4th

Pacers 89

(1-0, 1-0 away)

Pistons 87

(0-1, 0-1 home)

    8:00 PM ET, October 29, 2003

    The Palace of Auburn Hills, Detroit, MI

    1 2 3 4 T
    IND 19 27 26 1789
    DET 20 24 22 2187

    Top Performers

    Ind: J. O'Neal 22 Pts, 15 Reb, 2 Ast, 1 Stl, 5 Blk

    Det: B. Wallace 16 Pts, 17 Reb, 1 Ast, 5 Stl, 6 Blk

    O'Neal scores 22, pulls down 15 rebounds

    AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) -- Rick Carlisle refused to gloat after beating the team that fired him.

    Jermaine O'Neal had 22 points and 15 rebounds Wednesday night as the Indiana Pacers held on for an 89-87 victory over the Detroit Pistons, who got rid of Carlisle after two successful seasons.

    "It's not about me and it never will be," Carlisle said. "It's about this group of players, who played at a high level and with a lot of passion to earn this win against a good team."

    In the season opener for both clubs, Indiana led by 10 midway through the fourth quarter before a 13-2 run put Detroit ahead 87-86 with two minutes left. O'Neal scored a go-ahead basket with 1:41 to go and Jeff Foster made a free throw with 14.8 seconds remaining.

    Detroit's Chauncey Billups missed an 18-footer with 4.8 seconds left, and Mehmet Okur failed on a hurried 3-pointer just before the buzzer.

    Carlisle helped the Pistons win 100 regular-season games, two division titles and three playoff series the past two years, but it wasn't enough to save his job.

    "He didn't really talk much about it, but we knew in the back of his mind he really wanted to win this one," O'Neal said.

    Hall of Fame coach Larry Brown, who spent the past six seasons in Philadelphia, replaced Carlisle, who advanced past Brown and the 76ers in the second round of the playoffs. Carlisle succeeded fired coach Isiah Thomas in July after almost deciding to be a television analyst this season.

    Carlisle was given a rousing ovation when he was introduced, and he responded with a wave to the fans at The Palace. He was expressionless as his eyes followed last season's Central Division banner raised to the rafters.

    "Maybe for a few seconds I allowed myself to enjoy that because there's a sense of pride in helping that great group of guys accomplish what they did over the past two seasons," Carlisle said. "But, my mind quickly had to get back to the game at hand."

    Billups pointed toward Carlisle after embracing his former coach upon his arrival at the arena two hours earlier, and Ben Wallace hugged him just before tipoff.

    "He did a great job for this team," Wallace said. "That's the least I could've done for him."

    Ron Artest scored 21 points, Reggie Miller had 14 and Kenny Anderson added 10 for the Pacers.

    Wallace led the Pistons with 16 points, 17 rebounds, five steals and six blocks. Okur scored 17 off the bench. Tayshaun Prince had 16.

    Richard Hamilton and Billups, Detroit's top two scorers last season, combined for just 19 points.

    "When you shoot 6-for-31 with those two, and still have a chance to win, you must be doing some good things," Brown said.

    As expected, Detroit's Darko Milicic did not play. The Pistons do not plan to use the 18-year-old Milicic much early in the season, despite making him the second overall pick in the draft.

    Game notes

    Scot Pollard, acquired by Indiana in a trade for Brad Miller, had two points and four rebounds. ... Detroit's Elden Campbell, a free agent acquisition, scored 11 points. ... Kid Rock sang "America The Beautiful" and then sat courtside, several rows in front of Bob Seger, another Michigan resident.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 89 87
    FGM-FGA 36-79 (.456) 31-79 (.392)
    3PM-3PA 7-14 (.500) 2-6 (.333)
    FTM-FTA 10-15 (.667) 23-31 (.742)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 12-39 16-40
    Assists 18 15
    Turnovers 21 15
    Steals 8 11
    Blocks 9 12
    Fast Break Points 4 7
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 28 (0/0) 17 (0/0)

    Top Performers

    Jermaine O'Neal O'Neal
    Points: 22
    Reb: 15
    Ast: 2
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 5
    Ben Wallace Wallace
    Points: 16
    Reb: 17
    Ast: 1
    Stl: 5
    Blk: 6