Indiana 103, L.A. Lakers 97
INDIANAPOLIS, March 18 (Ticker) --
A vintage performance from Reggie Miller
kept the Los Angeles Lakers in a free fall.
Miller scored nine of his season-high 39 points in the final
minute as the Indiana Pacers posted a 103-97 victory over the
Lakers, who lost their fourth straight game.
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Miller, who will likely retire at the end of this season, made 13-of-18
shots, including 3-of-5 3-pointers, as Indiana improved to 5-2
since All-Star Jermaine O'Neal
went on the injured list. It was
Miller's fourth 30-point game this season.
"The legend lives on," Pacers coach Rick Carlisle
next time you see a 39-year-old going for 39 points at the
2-spot ... You won't see it in this lifetime. Never
underestimate greatness at any age. It was really a spectacular
"Hopefully, I won't need to have a lot of nights like this, but
we're shorthanded right now," Miller said. "Stephen (Jackson
and I recognize that we are going to take the brunt of the
scoring load and we have to get into ballgames early."
Miller credited teammates Dale Davis
and Jeff Foster
creating his scoring opportunities.
"Dale and Jeff really sacrifice their bodies and set great
screens for us," Miller said. "We get the credit, but they do
the dirty work."
Trailing by 15 points in the second half, Los Angeles drew even,
90-90, on a 3-pointer by Chucky Atkins
with 1:47 left. Anthony Johnson
, who scored nine of his 13 points in the final period,
answered with a jumper to put the Pacers back in front.
After Atkins missed a 3-pointer on the other end, Miller nailed
one with 59 seconds remaining to push the lead to 95-90. Kobe Bryant
hit 1-of-2 free throws before Miller found Johnson for an
open jumper at the 29-second mark, then sealed the victory with
six free throws down the stretch.
Atkins scored 23 points and Caron Butler
added 19 for the Lakers
(32-33), who fell below .500 for the first time since starting
the season 3-4.
When asked what kept them from completing the comeback, Butler
was quick to respond.
"Reggie Miller," Butler said. "He was unbelievable. He created
for his teammates and had the crowd going, too. He was
Bryant, second in the league in scoring, was held to 12 points
on 5-of-14 shooting and did not make a basket in the fourth
quarter until hitting a meaningless jumper with three seconds to
"I thought we did a good job of battling back," said Bryant, who
was on the bench for the first eight minutes of the final
period. "Caron, Chucky, Jumaine (Jones
), they all helped us get
back in the game. But Reggie played like young Reggie
Miller scored 19 points in the first half as the Pacers took a
50-46 lead. He added seven more in an 18-5 run that pushed
Indiana's edge to 68-53 seven minutes into the third period.
"If I were Reggie Miller, I think I would sign a multiyear
contract," Lakers interim coach Frank Hamblen
said. "Maybe I'll
give him a call, I'd like to be his agent. If you can score
your age in this league at 39, there's no reason to quit."
Lakers forward Lamar Odom
injured his left shoulder early in the
third quarter fighting for a rebound and did not return. The
team said that he was "out indefinitely" and would be evaluated
after returning to Los Angeles on Saturday.
"If Lamar Odom is out for any period of time, everybody is going
to have to step up and do their best," Bryant said.