Indiana (36-14) at Toronto (23-24)

Partly Cloudy Currently: Toronto, ON
Temp: 68° F
  • Game info: 7:30 pm EST Fri Feb 6, 2004
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After shouldering the blame for a loss in New York, All-Star power forward Jermaine O’Neal hopes to help the Eastern Conference-leading Indiana Pacers beat the Toronto Raptors at Air Canada Centre.

O’Neal returned from a strained neck to score 17 points on 6-of-20 shooting Tuesday in a 97-90 loss to the Knicks at Madison Square Garden. Indiana had a three-game winning streak snapped and lost its first matchup with former coach Isiah Thomas, now president of the Knicks.

O’Neal took responsibility for the defeat.

“I have to put this loss on my shoulders,” he said. “If I decide to play, whether it is hurt or healthy, I have to find a way to control the game and win the games we are supposed to win.”

Ron Artest scored 19 points and Reggie Miller added 17 for the Pacers, who made only 7-of-23 3-pointers.

O’Neal, the Pacers’ leading scorer and rebounder, grabbed only six boards and committed a team-high three turnovers in 35 minutes.

“I really disappointed myself,” he said. “I am looking forward to Friday and getting back on track.”

The Raptors look for their first three-game winning streak since winning five in a row from Dec. 2-9. Toronto enjoyed a rare rout Wednesday, beating Orlando 110-90 for its largest margin of victory this season.

Donyell Marshall scored a season-high 32 points and Jalen Rose added 21 for Toronto. The Raptors went 11-of-14 from 3-point range and led by as many as 29 points in the fourth quarter.

“A lead like that means everything to somebody like me,” Rose said. “You cherish the games where you can sit on the bench with ice on your knees in the fourth quarter.”

Robert Archibald made his first NBA start in place of rookie center Chris Bosh, who is day-to-day with a sprained left ankle. Bosh is averaging 11.5 points and 7.5 rebounds this season.

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