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In loss, Davis 7-for-10 in 3s

11/22/2003

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.

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.