Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 3)

Series starts 12/9

Game 1: Tuesday, December 9th
Game 2: Saturday, January 24th
Game 3: Friday, February 20th

Wizards 79

(7-13, 4-9 away)

Pacers 93

(17-5, 8-2 home)

    Coverage: FSMW

    7:00 PM ET, December 9, 2003

    Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN

    1 2 3 4 T
    WSH 19 17 20 2379
    IND 20 23 27 2393

    Top Performers

    Washington: K. Brown 17 Pts, 7 Reb, 2 Ast, 1 Stl, 1 Blk

    Indiana: M. World Peace 16 Pts, 7 Reb, 9 Ast, 2 Stl

    Indiana swingman solid after ejection

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Ron Artest didn't let any bad feelings carry over from his first ejection of the season.

    Artest, who was ejected from Sunday's game against Sacramento for arguing an offensive foul call, bounced back with 16 points, nine assists and seven rebounds Tuesday night to lead the Indiana Pacers to a 93-79 win over the Washington Wizards.

    "We got the ball in Ron's hands and he made plays and scored when he had to," Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said. "He really had a fine, fine all-around game."

    After having 12 behavior-related suspensions last season, Artest hadn't been whistled for a technical foul this season before the Sacramento game.

    He played a team-high 44 minutes against Washington and was one of four Pacers with six field goals.

    Carlisle said Artest's performance was especially significant because Jermaine O'Neal was battling a stomach ailment. O'Neal felt sick before the game, but still managed 15 points and nine rebounds.

    "If there was any way possible I didn't want to go too many minutes with him," Carlisle said. "Ron's play tonight facilitated that for us."

    The Pacers, coming off a rugged five-game West Coast road trip, held a 22-point lead early in the fourth quarter before the Wizards used a 14-2 run to pull to 83-73.

    That prompted Carlisle to bring back four of his five starters, and the Wizards never got any closer.

    Washington continued to struggle to find offense without Jerry Stackhouse and Gilbert Arenas in the lineup. Both are on the injured list, Arenas with an abdominal strain and Stackhouse with a right knee injury.

    "For the last five minutes there, I thought I was going to have to change some diapers," Wizards coach Eddie Jordan said. "All of our guys were under 22 playing against their starters. It was past their bedtime."

    Kwame Brown led the Wizards with 17 points and seven rebounds, and Larry Hughes added 16 points and five rebounds.

    Al Harrington chipped in 13 points and nine rebounds for Indiana.

    The Pacers took a 43-36 lead at halftime despite shooting just 38 percent from the field, then made 52 percent of their attempts in the third quarter to take control.

    They also dominated on the boards, outrebounding Washington 45-31.

    "Getting beat on the boards like we did, there's nothing that you can really balance that out with in another area because rebounds do so many things," Hughes said. "We just have to rebound better."

    Christian Laettner scored six straight points to bring the Wizards within 11 at the end of the third quarter.

    Artest responded with a nifty between-the-legs dribble into the lane before finding Austin Croshere in the corner for a 3-pointer that gave Indiana a 70-56 lead.

    Indiana played without reserve point guard Anthony Johnson, who missed his second straight game due to an abdominal strain.

    Johnson has been a key player for Indiana off the bench, splitting time with starter Kenny Anderson and averaging 7.5 points and 2.7 assists.

    It didn't matter Tuesday night, as the deep Pacers overwhelmed the Wizards with experience and toughness inside.

    "We're all pretty much young guys and we're playing hard," Hughes said. "But we have to play better."

    Game notes

    Wizards reserve forward Jared Jeffries got a nice ovation when he entered the game midway through the first quarter. Jeffries was the Indiana High School Mr. Basketball in 2000 and led the Hoosiers to the NCAA finals in 2002. He scored five points in 16 minutes. ... Carlisle deemed his team's road trip a success, despite the 2-3 record. The Pacers lost close games at Sacramento and Portland and won two games without Artest, against Seattle and Phoenix, which Carlisle called the highlight of the trip.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 79 93
    FGM-FGA 32-66 (.485) 38-83 (.458)
    3PM-3PA 0-7 (.000) 7-13 (.538)
    FTM-FTA 15-20 (.750) 10-14 (.714)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 3-31 13-45
    Assists 17 27
    Turnovers 18 19
    Steals 10 6
    Blocks 6 3
    Fast Break Points 7 4
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 19 (0/0) 17 (0/0)

    Top Performers

    Kwame Brown Brown
    Points: 17
    Reb: 7
    Ast: 2
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 1
    Metta World Peace World Peace
    Points: 16
    Reb: 7
    Ast: 9
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 0