Archive for Sunday, May 9, 2004

Indiana keeps up pace

Pacers set record with sixth double-digit victory

May 9, 2004


— The Indiana Pacers are dominating the playoffs like no other team in NBA history.

Reggie Miller scored 19 points in 18 minutes Saturday night, leading Indiana to a 91-80 win over the Miami Heat for the Pacers' NBA-record sixth straight double-digit playoff victory.

The previous record was shared by the 1985 Los Angeles Lakers and 1947 Philadelphia Warriors.

Ron Artest had 20 points and five assists for the Pacers, who take a 2-0 series lead to Miami -- where the Heat have won 16 straight games -- for Monday's Game 3.

And the Pacers don't even think they've peaked, yet.

"We can play much better," Miller said. "We're finding ways to win, which is encouraging, but we have to play better."

Miller got the Pacers rolling with a three-pointer off one leg with Eddie Jones' hand in his face to beat the second-quarter buzzer

The 38-year-old Miller was 6-for-10 from the field with three three-pointers

"Reggie Miller just killed us," Heat coach Stan Van Gundy said. "He's done it before. We're not the first team he's done it to. It's not a coincidence when he makes big shots."

The Heat were in it in the first half, despite shooting just 37 percent from the floor. Jones hit two free throws to bring Miami within five before a critical mistake at the buzzer.

With 1.6 seconds to play in the half, Jones allowed Miller to catch a inbounds lob at the top of the key. Miller heaved a shot that swished at the buzzer for a 44-36 lead.

"The one going into the half was a heartbreaker for us," said Heat guard Dwyane Wade, who had 19 points, five assists and six turnovers.

Miller hit two threes in the first 4:30 of the second half to hold off the hard-charging Heat.

"He was playing within the offense and he was on fire," Artest said.

"It seems like he's always on fire in big games."

Lamar Odom led Miami with 19 points and 12 rebounds before fouling out with 4:05 to play. Miami battled throughout, but again got bogged down in the Pacers' preferred halfcourt style.

After outscoring the Pacers 14-0 in transition in Game 1, the Heat managed just eight fastbreak points Saturday and couldn't find good shots against the Pacers' suffocating halfcourt defense.

Miami shot 40.5 percent for the game and was 1-of-6 from three-point range.

The Pacers, on the other hand, made seven threes to offset being dominated on the boards again.

"It's the same old problems for us," Van Gundy said. "We competed hard. We attacked the basket, but they were just too much. They have too many weapons."

T'wolves 94, Kings 89

Minneapolis -- Sam Cassell was clutch once again, and Minnesota salvaged a split at home to start its Western Conference semifinal series.

Cassell scored eight points in the final three minutes, Kevin Garnett had 28 points and 11 rebounds and the Timberwolves closed the game with a 16-1 run to beat Sacramento.

Game 3 is Monday at Sacramento's raucous Arco Arena, where Minnesota was the only visitor this year to win twice. The Kings, though, have won eight of their last nine playoff games at home and are 138-26 there during the last four regular seasons.

Peja Stojakovic had 26 points and seven rebounds for Sacramento, which wasted a late 10-point lead.

Cassell, who had been quiet most of the game after scoring 40 points in a Game 1 loss, squarely was behind the rally.

Doug Christie's pressured three-pointer, which would have tied the game, fell short from the corner with 10 seconds remaining.

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