Miller Moves into Top 20, but Pacers Fall to Sonics

by Jeff Tzucker
by Conrad Brunner

November 25, 2001


Bouncing back from an uncharacteristically poor four-of-17 shooting night against San Antonio, O'Neal racked up 23 points and 17 rebounds as well as three blocked shots to lead the Pacers in all three categories. He now has five double-doubles on the season and is averaging 17.8 points, 10.0 rebounds and 2.46 blocked shots.

The only thing wrong with his shooting lately is the frequency. Miller scored 17 points on just nine field goal attempts and moved past Hal Greer into 20th place on the NBA career scoring list. He also did his best to keep the Pacers in the game late, hitting a trio of 3-pointers in the fourth period; the rest of the team went one-of-eight combined. Miller has shot 60 percent in the last five games, but averaged just 10 field goal attempts.


"He (Jamaal Tinsley) is all right. He's going to be a steady little player. He's got a little dog in him. ... He's with Isiah and Isiah is doing a good job with him. He's letting him play like he played and that's going to help him a lot."

In the five games Travis Best has missed while on the injured list with a strained right hamstring, the Pacers' bench has been outscored 165-102, an average deficit of 12.6 per game. In the previous 11 games with Best, the bench produced an average advantage of 5.4 points per game (337-278).

Points off turnovers: Sonics 19, Pacers 7
Points in the paint: Sonics 42, Pacers 30
Second-chance points: Sonics 17, Pacers 4
Fast-break points: Sonics 15, Pacers 9
Starters scoring: Sonics 70, Pacers 69
Bench scoring: Sonics 29, Pacers 19
Nov. 25, 2001

Though Reggie Miller did get score 17 points to move into 20th place on the NBA career scoring list, the Pacers letting a close game get away with a sloppy fourth quarter and opened a five-game road trip with a frustrating 99-88 loss to the Seattle Sonics on Sunday night in KeyArena.


The loss was the second in a row for the Pacers and drops them to 8-8 overall, 2-5 on the road. Seattle won for the third time in four games to raise its record to 7-8 overall, 4-3 at home.


The Pacers get a travel day off before continuing the trip in Portland for a 10 p.m. game Tuesday. This will conclude the season series with the Blazers, as the Pacers won the first meeting 105-96 at Conseco Fieldhouse on Nov. 10.


The Pacers set themselves up for defeat in the first half, when Seattle missed countless open shots and shot 37 percent while Indiana shot 51 percent, but the visitors could build just a 50-47 lead at the break. The third quarter was superb for both teams, as there were 15 lead changes and three times. Of the 16 field goals in the period, 14 produced either a lead change or a tie. But Seattle scored the final six points of the period, then the first basket of the fourth to take its biggest lead, 77-70, and that was enough of a margin to keep the Pacers at bay. The Pacers could get no closer than five points in the final six minutes. In the final period, the Pacers produced more than twice as many turnovers (nine) as field goals (four).


After their strong shooting in the first half, the Pacers hit 37 percent in the second half and wound up at .449 for the game, totaling 22 turnovers while being outrebounded 40-38. Two players had double-doubles, as Jermaine O'Neal had 23 points and 17 rebounds and Jamaal Tinsley 14 points and 12 assists. But O'Neal tied his career high with seven turnovers, while Tinsley and Jalen Rose had four each. Miller scored 17 on just nine field goal attempts. Rose scored 11 and Al Harrington 10. Seattle did not shoot well, but committed just 11 turnovers and grabbed 12 offensive rebounds and wound up taking 19 more shots than the Pacers. Rashard Lewis came off the bench to score 24, adding seven rebounds. Gary Payton had 20 points and 12 assists, Vin Baker 19 points in his first game back from the disabled list and Brent Barry 17 points and eight rebounds.


Coach Isiah Thomas clearly went hard after this game, using just seven players for extended minutes and virtually cutting Austin Croshere (five minutes) from the rotation. Miller, O'Neal and Tinsley all played at least 43 minutes. Foul trouble plagued Jeff Foster once again, limiting him to 26 relatively unproductive minutes (four points, four rebounds), and Tinsley was also hampered, eventually fouling out in the final 90 seconds. Seattle caused some problems early in the third period by going with a big front line with the 6-10 Lewis at small forward, causing repeated mismatch problems in the post for the Pacers, but that strategy was defeated when the other two big men, Vin Baker and Calvin Booth, both wound up in foul trouble midway through the period. Seattle raised its defensive intensity in the final 15 minutes, extending ball pressure and harassing the Pacers on the perimeter and it paid dividends.


Miller passed Hal Greer at the free throw line with 42.3 seconds left, raising his career point total to 21,588. His next target on the all-time scoring list is No. 19 Larry Bird, who he trails by 203 points. ... Miller has been torrid of late, shooting 60 percent in the last five games and hitting 51 percent of his 3-point attempts over the last 11. ... Harrington continued to struggle with his shot, going three of 12. In the last five games, he is 14 of 51 (27 percent). ... Tinsley has his seventh double-double of the season, and fifth in the last six games. He's averaging 17.7 points, 11.8 assists, 6.8 rebounds and 2.33 steals in that span. ... Rose had his lowest-scoring game of the season and has averaged 15.6 points on 42 percent shooting in the last five. ... After producing double-figure rebounds in seven straight games, Foster has 10 fouls and seven boards in the last two. He was playing with a bruised right wrist suffered on a missed dunk against San Antonio on Friday night. ... Carlos Rogers (flu) was not with the team but could rejoin the trip in either Portland or Denver. ... Travis Best missed his fifth game on the injured list and will be eligible to return in Portland, although the status of his strained hamstring is uncertain. ... Baker was activated from the injured list by Seattle just prior to the game and started at center.