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EASTERN CONFERENCE ROUNDUP

Indiana Sets Pace, Nets Lose Game 1

April 21, 2002|From Associated Press

In less than two hours, the Indiana Pacers took away what the New Jersey Nets spent five months building.

Jermaine O'Neal's offense, Ron Artest's defense and Reggie Miller's playoff experience helped the Pacers steal home-court advantage from the Nets.

O'Neal scored all but two of his 30 points in the first three quarters, Artest came up with three steals in a 90-second span of the fourth quarter, and Miller scored six clutch points down the stretch to lead Indiana past New Jersey, 89-83, Saturday in Game 1 of their first-round playoff series at East Rutherford, N.J.

Making its first postseason appearance in four years, New Jersey was unable to establish the up-tempo style that worked so well during the regular season. The Pacers turned the game into a matchup of half-court offenses, and Indiana's was superior.

O'Neal showed off his inside-outside repertoire and outscored Kenyon Martin, 30-15, at the power forward position. Indiana's Brad Miller contributed 18 points and 12 rebounds, while the Nets got just seven points from centers Todd MacCulloch and Jason Collins.

New Jersey couldn't get its perimeter game going, shooting just two for 11 on three-point shots, and finished with just 12 assists on 35 field goals.

"We didn't get out and run," Net guard Jason Kidd said. "We walked the ball up--even on misses--and that's not one of our strengths."

Kidd had 26 points, nine assists and eight rebounds for New Jersey, but the Nets didn't get anything special from anyone else.

Charlotte 80, Orlando 79--Having to carry the offensive load after Jamal Mashburn was hospitalized with flu-like symptoms, Baron Davis scored 28 points and had a key steal with three seconds remaining to seal the Hornets' win at Charlotte, N.C., in Game 1 of their playoff series.

Mashburn, Charlotte's leading scorer at 21.5 points a game, started the game but left late in the first quarter and was taken to a hospital by ambulance for overnight observation.

Tracy McGrady led the Magic with 20 points but made just eight for 21 from the field and didn't get off a last-second shot attempt, thanks to Davis' steal.

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