O'Neal Named Player of the Week

NEW YORK (Dec. 24, 2001) -- Indiana Pacers center Jermaine O’Neal today was named Eastern Conference Player of the Week for games played Monday, Dec. 17, through Sunday, Dec. 23. Seattle SuperSonics guard Gary Payton earned the Western Conference Player of the week nod.

O'Neal
O’Neal, recently named to the USA Basketball World Championships team, led the Pacers to a 3-1 record by averaging 28.5 points, 10.0 rebounds, 1.75 steals, and shooting 44-70 (.629) from the field. Payton led the Sonics to a perfect 3-0 record, posting averages of 22.3 points, 10.0 assists, 4.7 rebounds and 1.3 steals.

Here is a look at the week for O’Neal and Payton:

Jermaine O’Neal, Indiana

  • Tuesday at Atlanta:
  • Recorded 20 points, 11 rebounds and two blocks in the Pacers’103-100 victory over the Hawks.

  • Wednesday vs. Toronto: Had 27 points and 16 rebounds in the Pacers’ only defeat of the week.
  • Friday vs. New Jersey: Had 29 points, nine rebounds, a career-high five steals, three blocks and three assists in the Pacers’ six-point victory over the Nets.
  • Saturday at Cleveland: Scored a career-high 38 points, on 15-of-20 shooting from the field, to lead the Pacers to a six-point victory.

    Gary Payton, Seattle

  • Wednesday vs. Sacramento: Scored 27 points, dished out 10 assists, had seven rebounds and three blocks in the Sonics 12-point victory over the Kings.
  • Friday at Golden State: Recorded 20 points, 12 assists, four rebounds and two steals in 111-108 road victory.
  • Saturday vs. Detroit: Had 20 points, eight assists and three rebounds, in just 33 minutes of play, to lead the Sonics to a 117-89 victory over the Pistons.

    Other Eastern Conference candidates for NBA Player of the Week were Boston's Paul Pierce and Antoine Walker and Philadelphia’s Allen Iverson.

    Western Conference candidates for NBA Player of the Week were Dallas’ Michael Finley, Golden State’s Danny Fortson and San Antonio’s Tim Duncan.