Pacers 115, SuperSonics 96

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INDIANAPOLIS (AP)—Fred Jones knew that the Indiana Pacers needed a strong start with two starters out.

Jones scored a season-high 26 points and Stephen Jackson added 22 to help the Pacers snap a four-game losing streak with a 115-96 victory over the SuperSonics on Monday night.

“We were able to put the losses behind us and get off to a good start,” said Jones, who hit 10 of 16 field goals to lead the Pacers (16-12) to their highest scoring output of the season. “We knew they were a good first-quarter team, but we were able to jump out to the early lead.”

All-Star forward Jermaine O’Neal sat out with the flu and guard Jamaal Tinsley was sidelined with a torn right biceps. Jones said he took it upon himself to play a bigger role with Tinsley out.

“I knew I had to put a lot more on my shoulders,” he said. “I’ve gotten a lot more confident in my game, and I’ve been trying to take advantage of it.”

The Pacers began by hitting seven 3-pointers in the first quarter as they shot 14-of-21 (66.7 percent) from the field to race out to a 38-23 lead.

Jackson made three 3-pointers, Anthony Johnson hit two shots from behind the arc, and Jones and Sarunas Jasikevicius each converted a 3. Seattle never recovered.

Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said Jones provided a much-needed lift.

“As long as he plays with this kind of energy and force, he’ll get minutes and make things happen,” Carlisle said.

The Pacers opened the game with an 11-2 run and Jackson finished with 13 points in the first quarter.

Ray Allen had 24 points and Ronald Murray added 18 off the bench for Seattle (13-17), which placed five players in double figures.

Jasikevicius came off the bench to score a career-high 20 points for Indiana.

“These first quarters have been a problem,” Allen said. “When we covered penetration, their jump shots were falling. And when their jump shots weren’t falling, we gave up too much penetration. We are having so many breakdowns, defensively.”

Seattle was able to close to 54-45 late in the second quarter, but the Pacers finished the first half with a 9-2 run. Seattle coach Bob Weiss said his team struggled to defend the Pacers’ shooters.

“We had people trying to run at them,” he said. “But Jackson and Johnson were really attacking us. We also didn’t really have an answer for Fred Jones.

“Even though we shot 44 percent, they just kept coming at us.”

Notes

The Pacers set season highs by scoring 38 points in the first quarter and 63 in the first half as they shot 62 percent (22-for-35) from the field. … Allen remains the only Sonic to score in double figures in every game this season. … The Pacers, who never had two reserves score more than 20 points the same game until last Friday against Toronto, have now recorded the feat in back-to-back games.

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