Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 4)

Series starts 11/21

Game 1: Friday, November 21st
Game 2: Saturday, January 3rd
Game 3: Tuesday, February 17th
Game 4: Friday, February 27th

Pacers 76

(10-2, 6-0 away)

Hornets 75

(9-4, 5-2 home)

    Coverage: COX

    7:00 PM ET, November 21, 2003

    Smoothie King Center, New Orleans, LA

    1 2 3 4 T
    IND 15 27 21 1376
    NO 23 15 26 1175

    Top Performers

    Indiana: J. O'Neal 24 Pts, 11 Reb, 1 Stl, 5 Blk

    New Orleans: B. Davis 33 Pts, 9 Reb, 7 Ast, 2 Stl

    In loss, Davis 7-for-10 in 3s

    NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- The Indiana Pacers, with the NBA's best record, stayed unbeaten on the road thanks to a last-second miss by New Orleans rookie David West.

    Anthony Johnson

    A primetime battle took place between the Pacers and the Hornets Friday night.

    Jermaine O'Neal scored 24 points and Reggie Miller hit a pair of go-ahead free throws with 8.4 seconds left in the Indiana Pacers' 76-75 victory Friday night.

    Ron Artest scored 22 points and O'Neal also had 11 rebounds and five blocks for Indiana, which snapped the Hornets' four-game winning streak.

    The Hornets got one last chance with a second left after O'Neal missed a pair of free throws -- the second intentionally in an effort to run out the clock. But West just missed converting a backdoor alley-oop pass from Sean Rooks.

    "I was probably a little too low on the baseline and put it off the glass too hard," West said. "Part of the reason I was out there was because nobody was expecting me to take that shot. I had an open look."

    Al Harrington said confusion between himself and Artest botched the coverage on West.

    "The basketball gods were with us tonight," Harrington said.

    The Pacers have won four straight to improve to 10-2. New Orleans fell to 9-4, the second-best mark in the Eastern Conference.

    "You can't apologize for winning and you can't apologize for the other team missing even though they ran a great play and had us beat," Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said. "We were very fortunate, but our guys played well enough to win."

    Baron Davis led New Orleans with 33 points.

    The Hornets led 75-74 when Miller, wrestling with David Wesley for position along the baseline, drew a foul that sent Hornets coach Tim Floyd into a stomping rage. Miller hit both shots.

    Wesley said he had told referees Jack Nies and Courtney Kirkland that Miller was going to push off before making his cut.

    "So the first thing he does is push off. And I responded to the push-off and, you know ... he flopped," Wesley said. "It's completely away from the play. It didn't even affect the play and you determine a game of this magnitude.

    "That's pretty ridiculous, it really is."

    Miller said the Hornets were "lucky" the foul was called because he would have been wide open otherwise.

    "He could have picked his poison. Either I could have hit a 3 on him or I could have done it from the free throw line. He's lucky I didn't hit a 3 on him," Miller said.

    Davis' potential game-winning 3-pointer rolled around and out, with O'Neal grabbing the rebound and getting fouled to set up the final sequence.

    Davis was 7-for-10 from 3-point range, P.J. Brown added 14 points, Wesley scored 11 and George Lynch grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds.

    O'Neal sat out Indiana's previous game and was listed as day-to-day with right knee tendinitis. After missing his first five shots, he went 11-for-19 the rest of the way and made most of his open shots from inside 15 feet.

    "Those guys are so tough defensively I had to readjust," O'Neal said. "I realized the longer I waited (to shoot), the easier it was to guard me, and a couple of guys on the bench told me to go right away. So I didn't give the defense a chance to get back to me and my shots started falling."

    When Artest hit a 3-pointer off the glass at the shot-clock buzzer in the third quarter, the Pacers had opened up their largest lead, 52-44, and seemed ready to pull away. But Davis got the Hornets back in it with his outside shooting. After hitting two straight 3s to cut the score to 52-50, Davis stole the ball from O'Neal near midcourt and hit a straightaway 3 to give the Hornets a 53-52 lead.

    Davis would finish with five 3-pointers in the quarter -- a Hornets record -- giving New Orleans a 64-63 lead heading into the final period.

    Game notes

    Kenny Anderson, who played for New Orleans the latter part of last season, was making his fifth homecoming of sorts in the last eight games. During that stretch he played once in his hometown (New York) and faced former teams at New Jersey, Boston and Seattle. ... The Pacers came in holding opponents to 41.7 percent shooting from the field. The Hornets shot 36.7 percent.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 76 75
    FGM-FGA 29-74 (.392) 29-79 (.367)
    3PM-3PA 3-14 (.214) 8-22 (.364)
    FTM-FTA 15-22 (.682) 9-15 (.600)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 12-43 15-47
    Assists 12 17
    Turnovers 11 12
    Steals 3 5
    Blocks 6 2
    Fast Break Points 2 5
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 20 (0/0) 23 (2/0)

    Top Performers

    New Orleans
    Jermaine O'Neal O'Neal
    Points: 24
    Reb: 11
    Ast: 0
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 5
    Baron Davis Davis
    Points: 33
    Reb: 9
    Ast: 7
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 0