Pacers 107, Warriors 96
INDIANAPOLIS (AP)—Jermaine O’Neal has spent more time working on his jump shot in recent weeks, and it finally paid off.
O’Neal made 14 of 24 shots, many of which came from outside 12 feet.
“Jermaine’s entire game continues to evolve in quantum leaps,” Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said. “We know he’s the best post player in the Eastern Conference. Now he’s complementing the post play with the outside shot.”
Jamaal Tinsley added 13 points and 11 assists, and the Pacers shot 52 percent from the field to earn their third straight win and NBA-best 42nd victory of the season.
O’Neal spent the first quarter banging down low with Golden State center Erick Dampier, who outweighs O’Neal by 25 pounds. Dampier had his way early, scoring 12 of his 22 points in the first quarter as the Warriors took a 25-23 lead.
O’Neal started going outside in the second quarter, knocking down jumpers and extending the Golden State defense.
“It’s kind of frustrating because I haven’t been able to shoot how I know I can shoot,” said O’Neal, who also had four blocks. “I’ve just been shooting a lot lately and it finally paid off.”
Bender’s minutes off the bench have increased since Artest went on the injured list after having surgery to repair torn ligaments in his left thumb. He led a Pacers bench that outscored the Warriors’ bench 35-25, the seventh game in a row that Indiana’s reserves have outscored their opponents’ reserves.
“We’re playing 10 guys now and the guys off the bench really made a solid contribution tonight,” Carlisle said.
Dampier was the subject of several trade rumors before the deadline, one of which had him coming to Indiana, his former team.
The deal never transpired, and Dampier threw his considerable weight around against the Pacers on Tuesday night. The 265-pound center had 12 rebounds and forced O’Neal to the outside.
Unfortunately for the Warriors, O’Neal obliged. He scored 12 points, and Tinsley added five points and three assists in the decisive third quarter. O’Neal’s two jumpers from the left wing sparked a 10-2 quarter-ending run to take an 80-74 lead into the final period.
“Jermaine seemed to hit all the big shots,” Warriors coach Eric Musselman said. “He hit one big shot after another.”
The Warriors didn’t play poorly. They shot 42 percent, including 7-of-13 from 3-point range, and had only 12 turnovers.
“Our guys weren’t able to match their energy,” Warriors forward Clifford Robinson said. “They kept playing at a high level and because of that were able to seize control.”
Cardinal, who starred at Purdue in college, received a nice ovation when announced for his first professional start at Conseco Fieldhouse. … Warriors F Mike Dunleavy scored five points in 15 minutes after missing seven of the last nine games with a sprained left ankle. Speedy Claxton also played despite being listed as questionable with a sprained right thumb. … Claxton drew a flagrant foul for a hard foul on Jones with 7:15 to go. … Pacers G Reggie Miller and Carlisle were called for technicals in a 35-second span in the third quarter. Those came after Carlisle was ejected and the Pacers hadfour technical fouls in a win over Utah on Sunday.