Regular Season Series (Game 2 of 2)

Series starts 1/8

Game 1: Sunday, January 8th
Game 2: Friday, March 17th

Kings 93

(33-32, 11-21 away)

Pacers 98

(33-30, 20-11 home)

Coverage: CSNS

7:00 PM ET, March 17, 2006

Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN

1 2 3 4 T
SAC 36 16 24 1793
IND 20 21 34 2398

Top Performers

Sacramento: B. Miller 17 Pts, 8 Reb, 9 Ast, 1 Stl, 2 Blk

Indiana: D. Granger 23 Pts, 7 Reb, 2 Ast, 2 Stl, 2 Blk

Artest booed in return to Indiana; Pacers top Kings

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Ron Artest has never heard an Indiana crowd boo so loudly.

He couldn't even recall the hated Detroit Pistons getting as rude a reception as he received from Pacers fans on Friday night.

In the end, Pacers fans were cheering. Artest shot poorly in his return to Indiana as the Pacers beat the Sacramento Kings 98-93.

Artest was playing in Indianapolis for the first time since his trade request was granted and he was sent to the Kings for Peja Stojakovic seven weeks ago. Artest scored 18 points, but shot 6-for-22 from the field, including 2-for-14 in the second half.

He was booed during pregame introductions, and that continued every time he touched the ball.

"If there was a fight between the fans who loved me or booed me, I think the boos would have won."

The boos didn't surprise Indiana guard Stephen Jackson.

"I just told Ron he shouldn't feel bad," Jackson said. "They boo me, and I play here. I don't think it bothered him. If they'll boo me, they'll boo anybody."

The fans saved their loudest pregame cheers for Stojakovic, who had 20 points and 12 rebounds to help the Pacers snap the Kings' five-game winning streak.

The crowd reaction didn't bother Artest, but his shooting did.

"I missed a lot of layups," he said. "I was right there at the bucket and I missed layups. So that was pretty much it. I missed a ton of layups, a ton of layups."

Artest said his former teammates treated him better than the fans did.

"There was a lot of love, you know, fives and daps, good luck, that sort of thing," he said.

Artest's return overshadowed Danny Granger's career night. The rookie forward, who Artest has compared to a young Scottie Pippen, scored 23 points. Artest was impressed with the youngster he took under his wing during training camp.

"He played good," Artest said. "He played real smart tonight. He's probably one of the better players on the team right now."

Reserve point guard Jamaal Tinsley added 20 points for Indiana (33-30).

Mike Bibby led the Kings (33-32) with 22 points and Brad Miller, who also played for the Pacers, added 17.

Sacramento led 52-41 at halftime, but the Pacers made 10 of their first 12 shots in the second half and took their first lead on Granger's jumper with 3:38 left in the third quarter that made the score 68-66.

Artest shot 1-for-7 in the third quarter, but Kevin Martin scored 10 points to help the Kings take a 76-75 lead at the end of the period.

The Pacers took the lead for good on Granger's jumper with 4:28 left. Tinsley scored six points in the last 3:35 to help the Pacers stay in control.

The Kings made their first six shots to take a 13-4 lead and force an Indiana timeout. They made two more before their first miss with 6:46 left in the first quarter.

Artest scored his first basket with 7:42 left in the first quarter and drained a 3-pointer a minute later. Sacramento shot 70 percent in the first quarter and led 36-20 at the end of the period.

The Kings' shooting touch disappeared in the second quarter and allowed the Pacers to climb back into the game.

Bonzi Wells was called for a flagrant penalty 1 when he pulled Granger's jersey while Granger went in for a dunk late in the second quarter. Granger laid on the ground for a while before making two free throws, then scoring on a mid-range jumper over Artest on the ensuing possession to cut Sacramento's lead to 45-41 with 2:09 left in the half.

Artest scored on a layup with 4.7 seconds left in the half to give the Kings a 52-41 lead at the break.

Artest said his primary concern Friday night was losing the game.

"I was more disappointed that we lost as a team as opposed to playing poorly," he said. "We just have to move on and get better. The big thing is we should have won this game."

Game notes

Indiana point guard Sarunas Jasikevicius has played just two seconds the last three games with Tinsley back from an elbow injury. Jasikevicius played well enough this season to make the rookie challenge. ... Stojakovic averaged 16.5 in 31 games with Sacramento, but entered the game against his former team averaging 20.2 points for the Pacers. ... Miller was cheered during pregame introductions.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Team Stat Comparison

Points 93 98
FGM-FGA 37-93 (.398) 42-91 (.462)
3PM-3PA 9-21 (.429) 4-11 (.364)
FTM-FTA 10-13 (.769) 10-13 (.769)
Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 18-51 14-49
Assists 23 27
Turnovers 11 9
Steals 4 8
Blocks 3 5
Fast Break Points 2 10
Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 17 (0/1) 13 (1/0)
Largest Lead 16 7

Top Performers

Brad Miller Miller
Points: 17
Reb: 8
Ast: 9
Stl: 1
Blk: 2
Danny Granger Granger
Points: 23
Reb: 7
Ast: 2
Stl: 2
Blk: 2