INDIANAPOLIS, Jan. 4 (Ticker) --
Hours after putting his money where
his mouth was, Jermaine O'Neal
put the ball where the basket
O'Neal scored a career-high 55 points as the Indiana Pacers
posted a 116-99 triumph over the Milwaukee Bucks.
NBA TV highlights from |
Prior to the game, O'Neal was one of seven of agent Arn Tellem's
clients to pledge a charitable contribution to victims of the
Indian Ocean tsunami. As part of the donation, O'Neal will give
$1,000 for every point he scores Thursday against San Antonio.
"We didn't have time to get things set up today," O'Neal said.
"I wish we could have, after the game I had. But, for
Thursday's game, I will donate $1,000 for every point I score.
It is such a devastating scene over there, and no one ever wants
to have to go through that. It really helps you realize how
blessed you are."
O'Neal's contribution total Tuesday would have been rather
significant as he set an NBA season high and came within two
points of the team record. Reggie Miller
, who was one of the
players trying to get O'Neal the ball late in the game, holds
the record with 57 points against Charlotte on Nov. 28,
"I didn't know how close I was until someone told me," said
O'Neal, who missed 15 games earlier this season for his role in
a brawl with the Detroit Pistons on Nov. 19. "My focus was
to help the team win and if it meant scoring a lot of points,
that is what I would do."
"I was asked how many games it took me to score 55," Pacers
coach Rick Carlisle
said. "That's more than a quarter of the
points I scored in my career. I'm really happy for our fans to
see something special like they saw tonight."
O'Neal scored 19 points through one quarter and had 29 at the
half. With 47 through three quarters, he had the record in his
sights but pulled himself from the game with 1:43 to go and the
Pacers comfortably ahead.
"To his credit, Jermaine felt it was the right thing to come out
of the game and not go for the record," Carlisle said. "I was
pleased he asked out, it was classy."
"He really got it going early," Bucks coach Terry Porter
"He got himself into a groove and it just became really hard to
O'Neal did take one shot at tying the record -- a 20-footer that
clanged off the rim.
"Reggie was standing behind me and encouraging me to shoot it,"
O'Neal said. "I did, but I missed it."
"I'm very happy for him," Miller said. "He should have had 60.
He really didn't force any of his shots."
Philadelphia's Allen Iverson
had 54 points against the Bucks on
O'Neal, who was 18-of-28 from the field and 19-of-25 from the
line, missed the Pacers two previous meetings with Milwaukee
this season -- both Pacers' losses.
"We couldn't do anything with him," Bucks guard Erick Strickland
said. "We tried a bunch of stuff ... we just couldn't find
anything to stop him. We did not have an answer for him."
Behind O'Neal's dominance, Indiana ran its winning streak to a
season-high four games. The Pacers' point total also was a
season high and they are 11-1 when scoring at least 100 points
scored 21 points and Michael Redd