JERMAINE O'NEAL
Had another big game with 32 points on 11-of-18 shooting 10-of-10 from the line, along with five rebounds and a blocked shot.
RICK CARLISLE
"We couldn't get the pivotal basket or the pivotal stop, or the combination of the two. When you play a team as good as Cleveland is you're going to have be able to get over the hump and we struggled to do it. We hung in through some tough periods where we were down double digits and fought back two or three times and just couldn't get there."
Points in the Paint:
Cavaliers 40, Pacers 28
Fast-break points:
Cavaliers 18, Pacers 10
2nd-chance points:
Cavaliers 11, Pacers 8
Points off turnovers:
Pacers 10, Cavaliers 10
Starters scoring:
Cavaliers 81, Pacers 75
Bench scoring:
Cavaliers 24, Pacers 19
Jermaine O'Neal has posted consecutive games of at least 30 points for the first time since doing so four times in a row during the 2004-05 season.
The Pacers hit the road for two big games against competitors for the final two playoff spots in the East, beginning Wednesday with Vince Carter and the New Jersey Nets (7:30 p.m., FSN-Indiana). The trip concludes Friday in Orlando.
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  • CLEVELAND 105, INDIANA 94
    Pacers Can't Complete Comeback

    By Conrad Brunner | March 27, 2007


    Having re-established their ability to compete, the Pacers must take the next step if they are to salvage a playoff berth from this season. They must regain the ability to make the necessary plays at both ends of the floor to win.

    Though they put themselves in position to beat Cleveland, coming almost all the way back from a 12-point third-quarter deficit, the Pacers made costly mistakes – two from point guard Jamaal Tinsley – as the Cavaliers held on for a 105-94 victory Tuesday night at Conseco Fieldhouse.

    Trailing 89-85, the Pacers got a much-needed defensive stop. With the chance to make it a one-possession game and the crowd poised to erupt, Tinsley hoisted an ill-advised 3-point attempt that sailed over the rim and hammered off the backboard.

    Still hanging on, trailing 93-87 after a Troy Murphy jumper, Tinsley allowed 33-year-old Eric Snow to get past him into the lane for a three-point play that essentially closed the door.

    The loss dropped the Pacers (31-39) a full game behind eighth-place New Jersey, with a road game against the Nets coming Wednesday night. It was the second loss in a row and 15th in 17 games for the Pacers, who dropped to 20-16 at home.

    Cleveland (43-28) started a five-game trip by beating the Pacers for the third straight time and improved to 16-18 on the road.


    PLUSES

    Jermaine O'Neal had another big night, racking up 32 points on 11-of-18 shooting, though he had just five rebounds. Scoring support came from Danny Granger, who scored 22 on 10-of-17 shooting, adding four assists, three rebounds and two steals. Murphy scored 16 with six rebounds off the bench and Tinsley was otherwise solid with 15 points, 12 assists, six rebounds and two steals. The Pacers shot 47.4 percent and had 22 assists against just nine turnovers.
    MINUSES
    As has become routine against the Cavs, the defense struggled more with the secondary scores than LeBron James, who scored a quiet 26, adding seven rebounds, six assists and two steals. Zydrunas Ilgauskas was a major factor inside, scoring 23. Snow had 14 off the bench, adding seven rebounds and four assists. Sasha Pavlovic scored 13 and Drew Gooden 12. The Cavs shot 52.1 percent and outrebounded the Pacers 43-33.
    MOMENTS
    The Cavs made the first big move, starting the second quarter with a 13-2 run that included technical fouls on O'Neal and Darrell Armstrong and opened a 38-24 lead. The Pacers answered with eight in a row to make the deficit more manageable and they closed the half down 52-45.

    The Cavs pulled out to a 69-58 lead in the third but James picked up his fourth foul and went to the bench, and the Pacers took advantage, scoring seven quick points, five from Granger, to close to 69-65. Murphy then heated up from the perimeter to provide a much-needed offensive lift and help keep the Pacers close. But after Tinsley's brick with the team down four, the Cavs put together a 9-2 run to put it away.


    TIDBITS
  • Starting center Jeff Foster left the game midway through the third quarter after his troublesome back spasms returned.
  • O'Neal added a sprained left ankle to his injury problems when he rolled it heading out of bounds after a shot attempt in the first half. He has been bothered for weeks with a sore left knee.
  • Cleveland won the season series for the second year in a row.
  • The Cavs became the first Pacers opponent in six games to score at least 100 points.