MARQUIS DANIELS
Scored a season-high 26 points on 11-of-17 shooting, including a career-high three 3-pointers in four attempts. He added three assists, three rebounds, a steal and a block in 33 minutes.
JIM O'BRIEN
"Really a solid defensive effort by our team. Marquis Daniels not only with 26 points but he had 11 deflections; our team had 43 deflections and Kareem Rush had seven of them. I thought Kareem played exceptionally well on defense. Just solid; to hold a team that's on a hot streak to under 35 percent is good. The other key factor is 27 assists, eight turnovers. That's really solid offensive basketball."
  • Points in the paint: Pacers 40, Sixers 40
  • Fast-break points: Pacers 12, Sixers 12
  • Second-chance points: Sixers 10, Pacers 6
  • Points off turnovers: Pacers 19, Sixers 5
  • Starters scoring: Sixers 69, Pacers 67
  • Bench scoring: Pacers 35, Sixers 16
  • In their three-game winning streak, the Pacers have been outscored 86-39 from the free throw line, including 28-7 by the Sixers Wednesday night.
    The Pacers travel to Minnesota to face former Indiana University standout and Pacers player and assistant coach Randy Wittman's Timberwolves Friday (8 p.m., FSN-Indiana, WIBC 1070-AM).
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  • INDIANA 102, PHILADELPHIA 85
    Daniels takes his turn in the spotlight

    By Conrad Brunner | Dec. 19, 2007


    Most every game lately, it seems, a different player is taking over. Mike Dunleavy in New York. Jamaal Tinsley in Miami. Kareem Rush against Chicago.

    This time, it was Marquis Daniels' turn in the spotlight. With Jamaal Tinsley sidelined with a deep thigh bruise, Daniels carried most of the minutes at point guard and produced 26 points, hit a career-high three 3-pointers – continuing the new "Quisy for threezy" call from legendary public address announcer Reb Porter – as the Pacers pulled away in the second half to beat Philadelphia 102-85 Wednesday in Conseco Fieldhouse.

    Holding the Sixers to .346 shooting while getting five double-figures scorers, the Pacers (14-12) won their third in a row and improved to 6-7 in Conseco Fieldhouse. They also gave O'Brien a victory in his first game against the Philadelphia franchise that fired him after a lone season in 2004-05 – the last time the 76ers have been to the playoffs.

    “The team is beginning to learn our new style and play hard for Coach (Jim) O’Brien," said Jermaine O'Neal, who had 19 points, nine rebounds and five blocked shots. "We’re beginning to understand both ends of the court, offense and defense. He has done a great job of instilling confidence in us as a team and individuals. We don’t care who leads this team in scoring just as long as we win."

    Without Tinsley's offensive creativity, the Pacers had to play a slightly more schematic offensive style but their perimeter defense was a major positive. Philadelphia's primary shooters, Kyle Korver, Willie Green and Andre Iguodala, combined to go 8-of-32 from the field.

    Daniels told O'Brien he'd prefer to remain in his familiar reserve role rather than start in Tinsley's place and the move paid major dividends. Daniels scored 10 points in a 20-7 run that sent the Pacers into the fourth quarter with an 81-67 lead, their biggest of the game to that point.

    "I asked him if he wanted to start and he said, 'I'd rather come off the bench,' which is tremendously unselfish on his part," said O'Brien. "He cares about finishing games, he really does. He doesn't care about who starts."

    Daniels scored 10 more in the fourth quarter, including a three-point play that quelled a brief Sixers surge and pushed the Pacers back to a 94-79 lead with 2:46 remaining, effectively ending the game. Daniels scored 20 points on 8-of-10 shooting in the second half.

    "I told Jim I prefer to come off the bench because I can sit there, get a good perspective on both ends of the floor and know what I have to do on both sides of the ball," Daniels said. "We have been giving ourselves up and not being selfish. We’ve got to build on this and build on the defense, because the block, deflection or steal can result in points on the other end of the floor."

    Dunleavy scored 19 with five assists and four rebounds for the Pacers. Danny Granger battled a tough shooting night (6-of-17), scoring 13 points but pulling eight rebounds. Troy Murphy scored 11 with five assists and Jeff Foster had a career-high five assists to go with eight rebounds.

    "Jamaal is our engine and he makes us go. But as in the past, others stepped up, mainly Andre (Owens) and Marquis (Daniels)," said O'Neal. "And when we get that kind of help off the bench, we are going to be a tough team to deal with.”

    Iguodala and Andre Miller scored 16 apiece for the Sixers (10-15), who had won five of six entering the game. Samuel Dalembert had 15 points, 14 rebounds and six blocked shots.


    NOTEWORTHY
  • Tinsley sustained the bruised left thigh in the fourth quarter Saturday in Miami when he tried to split a double-team. He played 32 minutes Monday in New York and had 12 assists but was 1-of-8 from the field.
  • O'Brien opted to start Owens over Travis Diener because he preferred to keep Daniels in his normal second-unit rotation. "Marquis prefers to come off the bench and that's been the pattern so we didn't want to shake things up so much," O'Brien said. "We wanted to keep it as close to normal as possible."
  • The Pacers waived Courtney Sims on Wednesday for the third time this year. Sims was released (with Lukasz Obrzut) on Oct. 25, the final cut of the preseason; re-signed on Oct. 29 and waived for a second time on Dec. 4. He re-re-signed on Dec. 12. An undrafted rookie free agent center from Michigan, Sims has appeared in three games for a total of 11 minutes. "He knows what the situation is," said O'Brien. "If it goes down to two (healthy big men) like it did last time we brought him up, we'll call him again. He seems to like coming out here."
  • Murphy, who briefly lost the starting job to Jeff Foster, has returned to the first unit the last three games. "Murph has produced at a high level since he's been in the starting lineup and guys that produce at a high level get rewarded," said O'Brien. "He's played at a very high level offensively, defensively and on the glass."