New Orleans (21-12) at Indiana (24-10)

Mostly Cloudy Currently: Indianapolis, IN
Temp: 72° F
  • Game info: 8:00 pm EST Sat Jan 3, 2004
  • TV: FSMW
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Indiana Pacers hope Ron Artest has put his problems behind him. According to coach Rick Carlisle, he has.

“I’ve got a short memory,” Carlisle said. “I don’t remember much beyond the last few minutes.”

Coming off a tumultuous week, Artest and the Pacers host Baron Davis and the New Orleans Hornets at Conseco Fieldhouse.

Artest’s bad week was sparked by an argument with Carlisle last Saturday. Artest was benched for the second half of that day’s game against the New Jersey Nets for “conduct detrimental to winning.”

On Monday, Artest slept through a shootaround and was taken out of the starting lineup against Memphis before coming off the bench to score 18 points and lead the Pacers to victory. On Tuesday, Artest had 18 points and held Cleveland rookie LeBron James to 2-for-10 shooting in the second half in yet another win.

On Friday, Carlisle said the problems with Artest were behind them.

Artest responded to his coach’s reprieve by scoring 28 points on Friday night and Reggie Miller hit three 3-pointers during a 13-0 fourth-quarter run to lead the Pacers to a 103-90 victory over Boston.

Artest also had five steals and helped get Paul Pierce in foul trouble, limiting him to 18 points in 29 minutes.

“Ron Artest was unbelievable against Paul Pierce,” Miller said. “It was almost like he shadowed him all over the court. People see that, everyone picks up his game.”

Artest will have another tough assignment Saturday as he goes up against Davis, New Orleans’ versatile point guard. Davis is averaging 23.6 points and 8.4 assists per game. He scored 22 points to lead the Hornets to an 86-74 victory over the Toronto Raptors on Friday.

New Orleans has won three of four to move within 2 1/2 games of the Pacers for first place in the Central Division.

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