AMARE STOUDEMIRE
Phoenix's versatile big man racked up 42 points on 15-of-24 shooting from the field and 12-of-13 from the free-throw line, adding 13 rebounds, four assists and a blocked shot in a dominating offensive performance.
JIM O'BRIEN
“That was a tough loss. We competed better in the second half than in the first half but (Steve) Nash hit a big shot. That's what two-time MVPs do. We got the shot we wanted at the end but Danny (Granger) just missed it. That's the breaks of the game."
  • Points in the paint: Pacers 58, Suns 46
  • Fast-break points: Suns 27, Pacers 6
  • Second-chance points: Pacers 13, Suns 4
  • Points off turnovers: Suns 20, Pacers 19
  • Starters scoring: Suns 107, Pacers 88
  • Bench scoring: Pacers 29, Suns 14
  • With his season-high 30 points, Jermaine O'Neal surpassed the 10,000-point mark for his career, finishing the game with 10,020. He has 9,203 points with the Pacers, ranking ninth on the franchise's all-time scoring list, 54 behind Freddie Lewis.
    After a brief break in the schedule, the Pacers return to action Friday in Orlando against Dwight Howard and the red-hot Magic (7 p.m., FSN-Indiana, WIBC 1070-AM)
  • Notes & quotes
  • Postgame press conference
  • Pacers plus-minus rankings
  • Game info
  • PHOENIX 121, INDIANA 117
    Pacers can't close out Suns

    By Conrad Brunner | Dec. 4, 2007


    There was much to like, unless you're a coach trying to teach your team how to win.

    Jermaine O'Neal had by far his best game of the season, with 30 points, 14-of-20 shooting and 11 rebounds. Jamaal Tinsley had yet another double-double with 19 points and 12 assists. Marquis Daniels and David Harrison brought a big lift from the bench, combining for 23 points.

    And the Pacers, in their first game back from a long Western Conference road trip, fought back from a 15-point deficit to put themselves in position to beat Phoenix, one of the NBA's best teams.

    Therein, however, lay the root of Pacers Coach Jim O'Brien's dismay.

    Holding a 117-113 lead with 1:15 remaining, the Pacers couldn't close the deal as the Suns scored the game's final eight points to take a 121-117 decision before 11,435 Tuesday in Conseco Fieldhouse.

    "That was a tough loss," said O'Brien. "We competed better in the second half than the first half and (Steve) Nash hit a big shot. That's what two-time MVPs do. We got the shot we wanted at the end but Danny (Granger) just missed it. That's the breaks of the game."

    Nash hit a 3-pointer with 41.6 seconds left to put the Suns ahead 118-117 and the Pacers came up empty on their final four possessions. Their last chance evaporated when, trailing 120-117 with 6.5 seconds left, Granger was long on a 3-point attempt.

    The Pacers (9-10) lost their fifth in a row to the Suns (14-4) and fell to 4-6 at home. Phoenix rode the 42-point night of Amare Stoudemire, while Nash had 18 points and 17 assists.

    "Once again, we came up short," said Mike Dunleavy, whose fadeaway airball in the closing minute preceded Nash's 3-pointer. "Steve Nash showed again he is one of the great players in the game. He knows how to do it all. We know what we can stay and play with the best of them. That was not a question. But we must, once again, close games out. Basketball is a game of runs and there were runs out there tonight, and they made the final one."

    Phoenix controlled most of the first half but the Pacers closed with a 13-3 run to reduce the deficit to 69-64 at the break. Daniels spurred a 14-4 run in the third quarter that cut the gap to 88-86 and O'Neal was the key figure on a 10-point burst early in the fourth that tied it at 100-all. Three consecutive 3-pointers (one from Tinsley, two from Dunleavy) made it 115-111 and Tinsley's driving basket against Nash made it 117-113.

    After Nash's 3-pointer put Phoenix ahead, Stoudemire beat the shot-clock with a mid-range jumper that crawled over the front rim, leaving the Pacers in a three-point hole. Though they got a decent look, it came from a player who just entered the game cold as Granger – who endured a 2-of-11 shooting night – had not played at all in the fourth period.


    NOTEWORTHY
  • O'Brien opted to start Shawne Williams instead of Jeff Foster to match up better with Phoenix's Shawn Marion. Williams had 11 points and four rebounds in 20 minutes.
  • Troy Murphy picked up his first DNP-CD with the Pacers. "I didn't think it was a good game for him to play in," said O'Brien. "We really needed speed at the other big spot."
  • Travis Diener was inactive after awakening from an afternoon nap with muscle spasms in his shoulder.