Indiana (16-4) at Sacramento (12-5)

Fair Currently: Sacramento, CA
Temp: 36° F
  • Game info: 9:00 pm EST Sun Dec 7, 2003
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Brad Miller, playing possibly the best basketball of his career, plays his first game against the team with which he became an All-Star as the Sacramento Kings host the Indiana Pacers.

Miller is looking to help the Kings bounce back after having their regular-season home winning streak snapped at 17 games with a 112-109 overtime loss to Minnesota on Friday.

Despite Miller scoring a career-high 35 points and grabbing 13 rebounds, Sacramento had an eight-game winning streak snapped and fell to 10-1 at Arco Arena this season.

This will be Miller’s first game against the Pacers since they traded him to Sacramento as part of a three-team deal in July. Indiana felt it could not afford the 7-foot center, who made his first All-Star team last season—his second with the Pacers—as he averaged 13.1 points and 8.3 rebounds.

Miller, filling in at power forward for the Kings until Chris Webber returns, has averaged 28 points and 9.3 boards while shooting 61 percent from the field over the last three games. For the season, he is scoring 15.5 points and grabbing a team-high 9.9 rebounds per game.

His standout performance wasn’t enough Friday for Sacramento, which blew a six-point lead in the final 29 seconds of regulation as Minnesota’s Kevin Garnett hit two late 3-pointers to send the game to overtime.

“We fall hard, but we didn’t play smart those last two possessions (in regulation),” said Kings guard Bobby Jackson. “We fought back, but we just had a lack of communication and allowed KG to hit those two 3’s. In the last 30 seconds of a game, you have to know what you’re doing, and we didn’t execute.”

The Kings are 5-1 on an eight-game homestand, which ends Tuesday against the Los Angeles Clippers.

The Pacers improved to 2-2 on their five-game road trip with a 101-94 win at Seattle on Friday.

Jermaine O’Neal fought through a stomach illness and a migraine headache to lead Indiana with 30 points on 12-of-22 shooting.

“I was up at 7 o’clock calling the team doctor,” O’Neal said. “For the most part, I slept all afternoon, then I got a little meal in. I just wanted to give what I could give. It was enough to get a win.”

Al Harrington had 18 points and 14 rebounds starting in place of Ron Artest, who sat out for the second time in four games because of back spasms.

Artest—second on the team with 18.3 points per game—will likely be a game-time decision for this matchup.

“We’re deep,” Harrington said. “We’re a team to be reckoned with. Of our four losses, two have been right at the end. We’ve been challenging people. We hold guys below their averages. We’re just doing a good job on the defensive end.”

Indiana leads the Eastern Conference and trails only the Los Angeles Lakers (16-3) for the league’s best record.

STANDINGS (through Dec. 5): Pacers - 1st place, Central Division. Kings - 2nd place, 3 GB, Pacific Division.

PROBABLE STARTERS: Pacers - F Artest or Harrington, F O’Neal, C Jeff Foster, G Reggie Miller, G Kenny Anderson. Kings - F Peja Stojakovic, F Brad Miller, C Vlade Divac, G Doug Christie, G Mike Bibby.

TEAM LEADERS: Pacers - O’Neal, 20.6 ppg and 10.4 rpg; Anderson, 3.7 apg. Kings - Stojakovic, 22.9 ppg; Miller, 9.9 rpg; Bibby, 6.1 apg.

2002-03 SEASON SERIES: Kings, 2-0.

LAST MEETING: April 1; Kings, 103-98. At Indianapolis, Stojakovic had 26 points and Webber added 22 points and 14 rebounds as the Kings won despite shooting 38.4 percent (33-for-86) from the field.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Pacers - 9-2 on the road; Kings - 10-1 at home.

INJURIES: Pacers - F James Jones (hamstring); F Jonathan Bender (knee); G Jamaal Tinsley (back); G Jamison Brewer (toe). Kings - F Lawrence Funderburke (Achilles’); F Webber (knee); F Gerald Wallace (knee).

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Team Stat Leaders