Final

Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 4)

Series starts 11/7

Game 1: Friday, November 7th
Cavaliers90Final
Pacers91
Game 2: Monday, December 15th
Cavaliers85Final
Pacers95
Game 3: Tuesday, December 30th
Pacers92Final
Cavaliers89
Game 4: Sunday, March 14th
Pacers104Final
Cavaliers107

Cavaliers 90

(0-5, 0-4 away)

Pacers 91

(5-1, 2-1 home)

Coverage: FSMW

7:30 PM ET, November 7, 2003

Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN

1 2 3 4 T
CLE 22 24 23 2190
IND 31 20 23 1791

Top Performers

Cleveland: C. Boozer 20 Pts, 9 Reb, 1 Ast, 1 Stl

Indiana: J. O'Neal 14 Pts, 12 Reb, 5 Ast, 2 Stl, 6 Blk

LeBron brings it on but too late

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Ron Artest wasn't about to let a rookie steal a win over his Indiana Pacers -- even if it was LeBron James.

Ron Artest

Quietly, Ron Artest was high scorer again for the Pacers.

Artest's three-point play with 11 seconds left lifted the Indiana Pacers to a 91-90 victory over James and the winless Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday night.

"That's the main thing, to hit the ones that count," Artest said.

Artest's play brought the sellout crowd to its feet and spoiled a strong performance by James, who missed a driving layup with five seconds to go and then a putback as time expired.

That allowed the lethargic Pacers to escape with a win, one night after grinding out an emotional victory in New Jersey.

"I thought our team was emotionally and physically tired and just found a way to hang in there," Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said.

James finished with 23 points -- two short of his career high -- and had five rebounds, but turned the ball over seven times in the loss.

Despite missing two shots to win the game, the rookie's athletic ability left a big impression on the Pacers.

"He's a tremendous young player," Carlisle said. "Some of the things he's doing are breathtaking."

Artest finished with 21 points and Jermaine O'Neal had 14 points, 12 rebounds and six blocks for the Pacers, who won their fourth straight.

O'Neal sprained his right ankle in the closing moments, however, and was listed as day-to-day. The Pacers play Philadelphia on Sunday.

The Cavs appeared to be on their way to the their first win of the season when DeSagana Diop banked in a short jumper with 26.7 seconds remaining to give Cleveland a 90-88 lead.

"Statistically, they beat us everywhere but the score," Carlisle said. "Sometimes it comes down to passion more than X's and O's."

On the ensuing possession, Artest took the ball and drove strong down the lane, drawing the foul as his scoop shot dropped through the basket. He then converted the free throw for the one-point lead.

James then missed the layup, and the Cavaliers failed to convert a flurry of attempts to tip the ball in as time expired.

"I had a great look," James said. "I got a great tip on it and I thought it was going."

Carlos Boozer added 20 points and nine rebounds for the Cavs, who played with much more vigor after coach Paul Silas criticized their listlessness in Thursday night's loss to Denver.

"The reason we came out with so much energy and so much fight was that coach got on us," Darius Miles said. "Now we don't have nothing to lose. We're just going to keep playing hard."

Reggie Miller scored 15 points, including three 3-pointers, for Indiana.

James, the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft, had better luck against the Pacers than his friend Carmelo Anthony, who shot 1-for-13 from the field in Denver's loss to Indiana on Tuesday.

After disappearing in the second half Wednesday night in his home debut against Anthony, Cleveland coach Paul Silas urged James to be more aggressive offensively late in the game.

Clearly, James was paying attention.

The Cavaliers entered the final period trailing 74-69. But James scored seven points in a two-minute span to help Cleveland tie the game at 82.

"I felt good, I was hitting my shots and my free throws," said James, who shot 8-for-18 from the floor.

Artest capped a strong second half in which he scored 13 points and helped the Pacers keep winning.

"Everybody seems to be taking a turn stepping up big," said Anthony Johnson, whose two 3-pointers lifted Indiana over New Jersey on Thursday night. "When we hit the dead tempo tonight, (Artest) was able to bring us out of it."

Game Notes: Cleveland's Ricky Davis just missed a triple-double with nine points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists. ... Six players who made the jump from high school to the NBA were present. James, Diop and Miles did it for Cleveland, along with Indiana's O'Neal, Al Harrington and Jonathan Bender, who was inactive with a knee injury. ... Helped by James and their own fast start, the Pacers had their first sellout of the season.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Team Stat Comparison

 
CLE
IND
Points 90 91
FGM-FGA 36-81 (.444) 33-78 (.423)
3PM-3PA 3-6 (.500) 6-18 (.333)
FTM-FTA 15-20 (.750) 19-25 (.760)
Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 12-46 10-41
Assists 25 23
Turnovers 10 7
Steals 3 8
Blocks 7 7
Fast Break Points 5 4
Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 21 (0/0) 20 (0/0)

Top Performers

Cleveland
Indiana
Carlos Boozer Boozer
Points: 20
Reb: 9
Ast: 1
Stl: 1
Blk: 0
Jermaine O'Neal O'Neal
Points: 14
Reb: 12
Ast: 5
Stl: 2
Blk: 6