JERMAINE O'NEAL
Had a monster game inside with 28 points on 13-of-24 shooting, 13 rebounds, seven assists and six blocked shots, though he committed seven turnovers.
RICK CARLISLE
"We played two-and-a-half great quarters and then in the latter part of the third we had a string of turnovers and they took advantage of it. The key to the game was 29 points off 21 turnovers. You turn it over to these guys and they're going to convert faster than anybody. It's really disappointing because we had two guys who played exceptionally well, Darrell Armstrong and Jermaine O'Neal. We needed a couple of other guys to step up and make shots. It's just a tough loss."
Points in the Paint:
Suns 50, Pacers 42
Fast-break points:
Suns 20, Pacers 9
2nd-chance points:
Pacers 20, Suns 15
Points off turnovers:
Suns 29, Pacers 11
Starters scoring:
Suns 85, Pacers 76
Bench scoring:
Suns 18, Pacers 16
After the Pacers built an 18-point lead late in the third quarter, the Suns outscored them 44-15 in the final 16:24.
The same two teams meet again Friday in Phoenix (9 p.m., FSN-Indiana) as Amare Stoudemire and the Suns open a five-game homestand as the Pacers begin a four-game Western Conference road trip.
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  • PHOENIX 103, INDIANA 92
    Pacers Can't Stop Streaking Suns

    By Conrad Brunner | Feb. 27, 2007


    The Pacers were trying to win a game. The Suns were trying to get one step closer to history.

    When the team with superior talent also has the bigger motivational carrot, ultimately, the odds are just too long to overcome. Though Indiana threw a scare into the visitors, building an 18-point lead late in the third quarter, Phoenix finished the game on an 18-4 run to pull away for a 103-92 victory Tuesday in Conseco Fieldhouse.

    The Suns (44-13) improved to 14-0 on the road against Eastern Conference teams. If they win in Philadelphia Wednesday night, they'll become the first team in NBA history to sweep its non-conference schedule. Phoenix won its fifth in a row overall and 23rd in its last 26 road games.

    The Pacers (29-27) lost their third in a row and sixth in nine games to fall to 18-12 at home. They wrapped up a February schedule that brought nine of 11 at home with a 5-6 record. They now face eight of 11 on the road, including the next four – beginning with a rematch Friday in Phoenix.

    Indiana led 77-59 after a 23-6 run in the third quarter, but the Pacers were outscored 44-15 the rest of the way, going 7-of-26 from the field and committing nine turnovers in the final 16½ minutes.


    PLUSES

    O'Neal was a dominating force inside, overpowering Phoenix's smaller post players for 28 points, 13 rebounds, seven assists and six blocked shots. The tarnish on his otherwise stellar night was a career-high seven turnovers. With Jamaal Tinsley sitting out due to a sore left foot, Darrell Armstrong stepped into the lineup and played an inspired game, scoring 17 points with six assists, making 5-of-6 from the 3-point line. But he, too, struggled with turnovers, committing five. Mike Dunleavy scored 16 with six rebounds and Danny Granger scored 13 with seven rebounds and three assists. Jeff Foster had 14 rebounds in 20 minutes off the bench.
    MINUSES
    A defense that was impressively solid for 30 minutes was shredded thereafter as Steve Nash and Amare Stoudemire caught fire. Nash had his biggest game since returning from a right shoulder injury, scoring 25 points with 11 assists and four rebounds, hitting 11-of-18 shots including his first 3-pointers (he was 2-of-4) in five games. Stoudemire scored 17 of his 22 in the second half and 15 of those game in the final 16½ minutes when the Suns rallied. He also had 18 rebounds. Shawn Marion scored 22 with six rebounds. Complementary performances were turned in by Leandro Barbosa (13 points, four assists, four steals) and Raja Bell (11 points).
    MOMENTS
    An opportunity was wasted early as Phoenix missed 11 of its first 13 shots but the Pacers also came out cold and were unable to capitalize. The Suns were 7-of-22 with seven turnovers in the first quarter but emerged with a 19-all tie. The tempo picked up in the second period but the Pacers managed well enough to take a 50-49 lead into the break.

    Armstrong spurred the Pacers' big third-quarter run with three 3-pointers, pushing a 54-53 edge to 77-59 with 4:57 left in the period. But Indiana missed seven of its final eight shots as Stoudemire and Marion quickly heated up and Phoenix put together a 19-2 run bridging the third and fourth periods to close to 79-78 with 11:04 remaining.

    Another Armstrong 3-pointer allowed the Pacers to regain their footing as they took an 88-85 lead with 6:36 left on O'Neal's bucket inside. But Nash scored eight in a row, including two 3-pointers, to give the Suns a 95-88 lead. The Suns then went nearly 3 minutes without scoring but the Pacers couldn't make a dent beyond a single basket by Granger. Barbosa then polished them off with a 3-pointer and a steal-layup combination that made it 100-90 with 1:42 left.


    TIDBITS
  • Tinsley missed just his second game of the season due to a sore left foot and a bruised left thigh.
  • Marquis Daniels returned after missing one game because of a sore left knee and had nine points in 22 minutes off the bench.
  • Phoenix is 23-3 overall against Eastern Conference teams, including a 9-3 mark at home.