Pacers 101, Clippers 94

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LOS ANGELES (AP)—Reggie Miller’s savvy was as important as his marksmanship for the Indiana Pacers, who didn’t need him until a clutch shot in overtime was required.

Miller hit a tiebreaking 3-pointer with 1:49 left in the extra period— doubling his point total for the game, and the Pacers beat the Los Angeles Clippers 101-94 Wednesday night.

Miller, who has made more 3-pointers (2,438) than anyone in NBA history, was able to get a clean look off an inbounds play. It was only his fifth shot of the night and his fourth from behind the arc.

“I didn’t have to shoot much,” Miller said. “I’m blessed to be on a team where I’ve got a lot of young guns who are offensively talented, so I pick and choose.

“Obviously, I felt that we were somewhat in dire straits once we got into overtime. I felt like if I could kind of bait Bobby Simmons into going for a steal right there with six seconds left on the shot clock, I could get a pretty good look at the 3. He did exactly what I wanted him to do and I hit the 3.”

Miller’s shot gave Indiana a 95-92 lead. Jermaine O’Neal followed with an 11-footer and Jamaal Tinsley put it away with a pair of free throws.

O’Neal had 19 points and 17 rebounds to help Indiana beat the Clippers for the 19th time in 21 meetings. Ron Artest, playing his second game since undergoing surgery on his non-shooting thumb, had 25 points and tied a season high with seven turnovers.

“Ron kept us in the game and got us into overtime,” Miller said. “Once we got into the overtime, if we executed down the stretch, we were the better team. We got good looks at shots and finally knocked them down. During the course of the game, we got those same looks, but we just couldn’t knock them down.”

The victory improved Indiana’s league-leading road record to 21-10 and clinched a winning season on the road for the third time since the franchise moved from the ABA to the NBA. They also did it in 1997-98 (26-15) and in the lockout-shortened 1998-99 season (15-10).

Elton Brand scored 24 points for the Clippers, who faced the top team in the Eastern Conference one night after playing the team with the best record in the Western Conference—and came close to beating both. Quentin Richardson had 23 points and Corey Maggette 21.

Neither team led by more than three points in the fourth quarter, and the lead changed hands five times before Brand hit an off-balance 17-foot jumper from the left baseline to put the Clippers ahead 85-84 with 1:06 to play. O’Neal made one of two free throws to tie it, but Marko Jaric’s layup in heavy traffic regained the lead for the Clippers with 26 seconds left.

Artest tied it 87-all 15 seconds later with an eight-footer in the lane and the Clippers called timeout. Eddie House shot an airball on a desperation 3-point try over Tinsley at the regulation buzzer.

“It hurts to lose like that,” Brand said after the Clippers’ 13th loss in 13 games. “It was a wasted 48 minutes. We played great, but Ron Artest hit some big shots and they came back. There were a lot of great plays on his behalf, but we should have somehow pulled this one off.”

The Clippers, who missed their first six shots of the game, started the third quarter 0-for-7 from the field as Indiana turned a one-point halftime deficit into a 58-54 lead. Los Angeles regained the lead at 68-66 on a short running jumper by Brand, who swatted away Kenny Anderson’s eight-foot jumper in the final second of the quarter.

Richardson powered the Clippers to a 52-51 halftime lead with 17 points— including a fast-break layup off a long pass from Jaric with 17.3 seconds leftin the second quarter.

Notes

Miller played in his 1,285th NBA game, tying Elvin Hayes for eighth place. Miller has played more games with one team than anyone in league history except for Utah’s John Stockton and Moses Malone, both of whom left the Utah Jazz after last season. … Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was at the courtside press table, working his first game as an advance scout for the New York Knicks. The NBA’s career scoring leader was an assistant coach with the Clippers four seasons ago under Jim Todd, then briefly worked with a few of the Pacers’ big men including F Primoz Brezec. … O’Neal has blocked at least one shot in 38 straight games, the second-longest active streak behind the injured Tim Duncan (41). … O’Neal is the only player in the Eastern Conference averaging at least 20 points and 10 rebounds and leads the conference with 35 double-doubles. … Miller has not gone to the free throw line in four of hislast five games, including this one.

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Top Performers

 Top Performers
 Indiana
J. O'Neal J. O'Neal
8-19,  19 Pts
17 Rebs, 2 Assists
 LA Clippers
Q. Richardson Q. Richardson
11-21,  23 Pts
9 Rebs, 5 Assists

Team Stat Leaders

Points
Rebounds
Assists