Indiana 97, Cleveland 87

INDIANAPOLIS, Nov. 24 (AP) -- Jermaine O'Neal focused more on the Indiana Pacers' slow start Friday night than their furious finish.

After falling behind by 16 points in the first half, the Pacers took control in the third quarter and beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 97-87.

"I don't understand why we can't get off to good starts,'' said O'Neal, who scored 29 points. "I don't think we've gotten off to a good start in any game this year.''

LeBron James had 30 points, seven rebounds and five assists for Cleveland (8-5), which fell to 2-4 on the road. Drew Gooden added 17 points and 12 rebounds.

We have to figure this thing out,'' Cavaliers coach Mike Brown said. "We have to keep plugging away until we figure out what we need to do to get wins on the road.''

Jamaal Tinsley finished with 19 points and six assists, and Sarunas Jasikevicius scored 15 points for the Pacers (7-6), who begin a six-game road trip Sunday at Toronto.

"It's always a bonus when you get a win going into a long road trip,'' O'Neal said. "You look at a six-game road trip - it's one of those situations where it can define your team.''

After falling behind by 12 points at halftime, the Pacers slowly chipped away at the deficit in the third quarter. Indiana took its first lead of the game, 64-63, following a 3-pointer by Jasikevicius late in the period.

The teams traded the lead early in the fourth quarter before the Pacers gained control with a 13-3 run, which was capped by Stephen Jackson's layup with less than three minutes left, to put the Pacers ahead 90-79.

"Like always, it seems like we dig ourselves in a hole, and it makes life very difficult,'' Jasikevicius said. "Obviously, it's not good that we're starting (slowly), but it's really nice that we're coming back.''

The Cavaliers were outscored 25-9 in the third quarter. They shot 20 percent from the field and had five turnovers in the period.

I don't know if we relaxed, but we didn't make shots and we turned the ball over,'' James said. "It's always a concern any time you get a big lead like that on the road.''

Cleveland used a 10-0 run in the first quarter to open a 21-6 lead. Gooden, who had 11 points in the period, started the spurt with a jumper.

Indiana closed to 29-20 after scoring eight of the first 10 points of the second quarter, but the Cavaliers pushed the lead back to 47-31 following Gooden's layup with 5:10 left in the half.

Notes: Cavaliers guard Larry Hughes missed his fifth consecutive game with a sprained right ankle. He was injured Nov. 15 against Portland. ... Jackson was booed by the crowd at Conseco Fieldhouse after picking up a technical foul in the first quarter. ... Tinsley got a technical after having words with Cleveland's Aleksandar Pavlovic in the second quarter. ... Cavaliers guard Eric Snow was whistled for a technical in the third quarter for arguing a no-call.

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