Jackson Leads Pacers To Rout of Kings
SACRAMENTO, Calif., Jan. 8 (Ticker) -- Stephen Jackson and Fred Jones made Jermaine O'Neal's return an afterthought.
Jackson scored a season-high 31 points and Jones added 18 off the bench as the Indiana Pacers decimated the Sacramento Kings, 108-83.
"I feel all right," said O'Neal, who collected 12 points and eight rebounds in 22 minutes off the bench. "I'm going to try to get back into the starting lineup in the next two or three games."
Indiana led, 28-27, with 10:18 left in the first half when it went on a 23-6 burst over the next seven minutes. Jones was a big factor during the push, draining a pair of 3-pointers before capping the run with a highlight-reel reverse dunk at the 3:14 mark, pushing the advantage to 51-33.
"We all came out and played good (basketball) tonight," said Jones, who scored 14 points in the first half. "We played with intensity, we played together. That's how we win games. "We feel like we're a good team. It's time like we start playing like we're a good team. We struggled early (this season), but we're getting on track."
Jackson and O'Neal each scored eight points in the second quarter, when the Pacers built a 60-39 lead. Jackson then put on a shooting display by drilling five shots from the arc in the third period.
He personally was responsible for a 12-2 burst, hitting four 3-pointers in a 78-second span - the last coming with 7:20 to go which gave Indiana an 80-47 bulge.
"I was just being aggressive," Jackson said. "The shots were just able to fall tonight. More than us hitting shots, it was that we played defense. We made them take tough shots, got them out of their game."
Indiana coach Rick Carlisle credited the team's practice session Saturday for much of their effort against the Kings.
"We had one of the best practices we've had in the 2 1/2 years that I've been here," he said. "Guys really seemed committed to getting better. Little things like that are good signs and you hope that in the games it translates."
"The team is really trying to focus in and guys are really going at each other in practice extremely hard, probably the hardest all year," O'Neal said. "That's good to see. When you bring that competitive nature to practice, you know you'll bring it to the game."
Kenny Thomas scored 21 points for the Kings, who got no closer than 20 in the second half and needed to close the game with a 10-3 run to avoid their worst ever loss here.
"Everybody in that (locker room) is going to have to look at themselves and try to figure out what's going on," Kings coach Rick Adelman said. "Because this wasn't just being down, this was about as bad as it gets."
The Kings core of Mike Bibby, Brad Miller, and Peja Stojakovic combined for just 29 points on 29 percent (10-of-35) shooting.
"It's disappointing," Stojakovic said. "It's up to us. We've got to go out there and bring the effort. That's the least we can do."
Sacramento fell to 9-11 at home, matching its loss total from last season (30-11), when it finished with its worst home record in five seasons.