Austin Croshere plays a starring role in Friday's gallery.
Elsa/Getty Images/NBAE

X-Factor: Indiana's Man of Mystery
Austin Croshere didn't come out of a 1969 cryogenic chamber, but in his first start since the 2001-02 season he added some offensive powers to the Pacers' repertoire. Croshere's effort late in a Game 3 loss gave coach Rick Carlisle an idea, and the reserve found himself starting for center Jeff Foster on Friday. The move worked. Croshere gave Detroit one more man to worry about on the perimeter as he hit 3-of-4 from the arc and 5-of-8 overall for 14 points in an 83-68 East Finals-tying win. Seven of the points came in the third quarter, when Indy's lead grew to 23.
Starting Croshere a slam-dunk move: Play

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May 28, 2004


VIRTUAL GM TOP EFFICIENCY
J. O'Neal, Ind.
VGM value: 20.1
Friday: O'Neal left Game 4 late in the first quarter with a knee sprain but came back in the second and posted a plus-23 efficiency rating behind 12 points, 13 rebounds and four blocks.

VIRTUAL GM BEST BUY
A. Johnson, Ind.
VGM value: 5.7
Friday: With Croshere (5.8), Indiana offered a two-for-one special of sorts. Johnson had six points, four boards and two assists in 26 minutes spelling the nicked-up Jamaal Tinsley.

TIME TO TUNE IN
Saturday on TNT
Lakers at Wolves, 8:30 p.m. ET

SPEAK IT, MAN
"Austin changed the game. I just thought it was a gamble worth taking."
-- Pacers coach Rick Carlisle