Daily Confidential

Stephen Jackson believes the Indiana Pacers' most recent win may have been just what the team needed to turn around its uneven start. A strong finish on its season-high road trip would give credence to his claim.

Indiana (9-7) begins the final stretch of a six-game trip when it takes on the slumping Seattle SuperSonics (6-10) on Friday.

The Pacers have won three of their last four and five of seven since dropping a season-high three straight from Nov. 11-17. They beat Golden State 108-106 Wednesday night on Jackson's 3-pointer in the final second.

The Warriors led 106-105 in the waning moments of the game, but Jackson connected from beyond the arc after Danny Granger's shot was swatted away into his hands.

"Came right to me,'' Jackson said of the loose ball. "I knew time was running out when I got it. All I could do was shoot it. Had no time to pass it.''

All five Indiana starters scored in double figures, with Al Harrington leading the team with 28 points and Jamaal Tinsley adding 23 points, eight assists, eight rebounds and four steals.

"It's a big confidence-builder for us,'' coach Rick Carlisle said. "A lot of times, that's how games are won at the end. It's not about how you script it, but the bounce of the ball and the fact that it's a game of inches. It just plays out that way sometimes.''

Indiana lost 92-83 to Toronto in the opener of its trip before posting victories over Portland and Golden State. After facing Seattle, the Pacers travel to Denver on Saturday and then to Los Angeles on Monday to take on the Lakers.

"We needed that win,'' Jackson said. "That's a game we honestly had to have to turn this season around for us.''

The Pacers have lost nine of their last 14 visits to Seattle, but the Sonics enter on a three-game losing streak at home. Seattle is just 2-6 at KeyArena, including Wednesday's 94-84 loss to Orlando.

Ray Allen had 21 points against the Magic, but Seattle shot just 38.8 percent from the field and Allen struggled in the second half, missing his first five shots before finally scoring with 5:35 left in the game.

"It's frustrating right now,'' Allen said. "Offensively, we do some good things, we do some bad things, but consistently, we're not getting over the hump.''

Seattle, which was the NBA's second-highest scoring team last season at 102.6 points per game, has failed to score 100 points in six of the last eight contests.

This could be Indiana's last time playing at KeyArena. Sonics owner Clay Bennett announced Wednesday that he hopes to have a preliminary plan for a new arena - including site selection, a funding frameworks and facility schematics - ready by the end of the year.

"We hope something can be determined early in the Legislature and we hope that we're doing the appropriate ground work for that to take place,'' he said. "But the Sonics cannot survive in KeyArena.''

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