Miller scored all 13 of his points in the fourth quarter,
leading the Indiana Pacers to an 85-78 victory over the Atlanta
Hawks on Wednesday night.
"Our offense was kind of stale," said Miller, who didn't make
his first basket until there was 6:06 remaining. "Our ball
movement wasn't as crisp as it had been in the first two quarters.
We hit some big shots and came up with some big stops when we had
to as well."
Miller hit consecutive 3-pointers to give Indiana a 68-65 lead
with 5:28 left. A third 3-pointer two minutes later put Indiana up
by a point, and a six-point flurry from Jermaine O'Neal put the
Pacers ahead for good.
O'Neal finished with 26 points and 16 rebounds -- his 14th
double-double of the season and 13th in the past 16 games. Ron
Artest added 23 points, marking the fifth straight game he's scored
at least 20 -- the longest such streak by an Indiana player this
"Reggie is the guy, I keep saying time and time again, will be
there when we need him," O'Neal said. "When you get a little
older, you kind of have to pass the torch to the young guys like me
and Ron and Al (Harrington), so when you step away from the game,
we'll be fine."
The win gave the Eastern Conference-leading Pacers (29-11) a 3-0
series advantage over Atlanta this season.
"I was proud of my team," Hawks coach Terry Stotts said.
"They kept battling back against the best in the East on the road.
We were in position, it came down to them making shots with two or
three minutes to go and we couldn't get any to drop."
Miller was able to help the Pacers through a 34.4 percent
shooting slump in the second half, including 30 percent from
The Hawks, who halted a three-game losing streak Tuesday night
with a win against the NBA champion San Antonio Spurs, gave the
Pacers all they could handle in the fourth quarter.
Atlanta opened the quarter on a 10-0 run, holding the Pacers
scoreless for more than three minutes. Jason Terry had a pair of
baskets, including a 3 that tied the score at 58.
The Hawks made all four shots from the foul line to keep things
close, but went without an answer for the one-two punch of O'Neal
and Artest down the stretch.
"We just didn't take care of the ball at the end of the game,"
Terry said. "I had a costly turnover, a couple of other guys
turned the ball over. We've just got to take care of it down the
Shareef Abdur-Rahim led five Atlanta players in double figures
with 16 points. Terry added 15 points and nine rebounds.
Theo Ratliff, second in the league in blocked shots, had three
against Indiana and finished with seven points.
The Pacers used a 7-0 run to break a 17-all tie in a tight first
O'Neal was slow to start. He missed his first four shots from
the field before he got going in the second quarter. With Jamaal
Tinsley, Artest and Miller watching from the bench, O'Neal led a
team of reserves on an 8-2 run before getting a technical foul with
Indiana was able to fend off a late Atlanta surge to hold on for
a 37-34 lead at halftime.
"We came out, we played tough, we played aggressive, the type
of ball we want to play the rest of the season," Terry said.
"We're not disappointed in our effort, but disappointed with the
Pacers forward Jonathan Bender, out all season after left
knee surgery, made his season debut when he entered at the start of
the second quarter. He went 0-for-5 from the field and finished
with two points and five rebounds in 14 minutes. ... Stotts was a
standout player at Bloomington North High School, earning all-state
honors his senior season after averaging 25 points and 15 rebounds.
... The Pacers have won nine straight home games against the Hawks
and 14 of the past 20 overall. ... Hawks forward Stephen Jackson is
about to become a father. His fiancDee, Imani Showalter, is expected
to give birth to their first child "any day now," he said.