Harrington, Miller Star as Pacers Hand Kings Their First Loss

by Conrad Brunner

November 7, 2001


The Pacers trailed 71-61 when Al Harrington entered in the third quarter, and the young forward proceeded to take over the game at both ends of the floor. He scored 14 of his 22 points in the final 19 minutes, including a fadeaway jumper in the lane that closed the door on the Kings, giving the Pacers a 110-99 lead with 2:07 remaining. Harrington tied his career high, hitting 11 of 14 shots and contributing five rebounds and three assists in 33 minutes.

While it seems odd that any contribution by Miller could go unnoticed, he has assumed a secondary offensive role in the early going as Jalen Rose and Jermaine O'Neal have stepped to the forefront. But on this night, Miller was back in business, scoring 15 of his 20 points in the second half. That included eight points in the early minutes of the fourth quarter that kept the Pacers in the game.

"We were dead in the water. But he (Harrington) came in the game and not only gave us a spark, he uplifted us emotionally and made us trust again what we were doing out on the floor."
In the final 9:10, the Pacers outscored the Kings 25-7 and held Sacramento to 2-of-11 shooting while forcing six turnovers. The Pacers, meanwhile, committed just two turnovers and hit 10 of 16 shots.
Points off turnovers: Pacers 22, Kings 16
Points in the paint: Pacers 48, Kings 40
Second-chance points: Kings 20, Pacers 10
Fast-break points: Pacers 22, Kings 11
Starters scoring: Kings 85, Pacers 70
Bench scoring: Pacers 46, Kings 19
Nov. 7, 2001
Conseco Fieldhouse
Beating the Kings at a style they are supposed to dominate, the Pacers outran the NBA's most explosive fast-breaking team in the second half and rode a balanced offense and active defense to hand Sacramento its first loss of the season, 116-104 on Wednesday night before 15,309 fans in Conseco Fieldhouse.

It was the Pacers' fourth consecutive victory over the Kings, who haven't won in Indianapolis since 1996, and raised their record to 4-2. Sacramento lost for the first time in five games this season.

The Pacers continue their four-game homestand against their old rivals, the New York Knicks, on Friday night at 7 p.m. The Knicks are off to a slow start. Though they beat Cleveland 82-64 on Tuesday night, they're just 2-3 and will be without injured big man Marcus Camby, who isn't expected to return until next week.

Behind the remarkable shooting of Peja Stojakovic, the Kings controlled the pace into the second half, regularly building leads that forced the Pacers to respond. When the Kings jumped out to a 97-91 lead with 9:10 remaining, the Pacers appeared to be in trouble. But the defense tightened and the offense ignited as the Kings would scored just two points, both on free throws, in a span of 7:20 while the Pacers countered with 19 of their own to grab a 110-99 lead. In that 19-2 run, Sacramento missed all six of its field goal attempts and committed six turnovers.

The Pacers shot .523 overall and had 32 assists on 46 baskets. Though they were outrebounded 49-38, they committed just 12 turnovers. Six players scored in double figures led by Harrington's 22 and Miller's 20. Jalen Rose added 18, Jermaine O'Neal recovered from a bad first half to score 16, Austin Croshere came off the bench for 11 and Jamaal Tinsley had 10. O'Neal had nine rebounds and six blocked shots. Tinsley had eight assists while Rose and Miller had six apiece. Travis Best had four steals. Sacramento shot .469 overall, just .412 in the second half and six of 16 in the fourth quarter. Stojakovic produced a game-high 36, but his only basket of the fourth quarter came with less than two minutes remaining when the game already had been decided. Mike Bibby scored 19, Doug Christie 14, Vlade Divac 12 and Hedo Turkoglu 12. Divac had 10 rebounds, but four other Kings had at least seven. Divac also led the team with six assists.

Essentially, the Pacers had only to stick to the plan, and never quit running. They would fall into occasional lapses but Thomas would invariably make a substitution that would bring energy and life off the bench, either from Harrington or Croshere, with Best once showing a steady hand at the wheel. Tinsley's open-court passing appears to be having a contagious effect on his teammates, as the fast-break ball movement has been spectacular, at times.

There was no fast start for O'Neal on this night. After scoring the Pacers' first nine points against Toronto and eight of the first 10 against Philadelphia, he struggled through a poor start, and he was two of 13 through three quarters before finishing strong. ... In a game filled with spectacular shooting, it was fitting that the most breathtaking shot came from Miller. With six-tenths of a second remaining in the half, Miller caught a sideline inbounds pass in the air, twisted and heaved a 32-foot shot that swished at the buzzer. It was actually the second successful desperation shot in a row for the Pacers, as Rose pulled up and hit a 30-footer immediately before, but that basket was waved off by a pre-shot foul against the Kings, setting up the inbounds play. ... Perhaps lost in the hubbub of the victory was a quietly solid performance from Jonathan Bender, who scored seven points in 10 minutes off the bench.