Pacers 94, Clippers 80
INDIANAPOLIS (AP)—Take that, Pops.
Mike Dunleavy, playing against his father’s Los Angeles Clippers for the first time since he was traded from Golden State to Indiana last month, hit nine of 12 shots, scored 20 points and had three steals in the Pacers’ 94-80 victory on Sunday.
Jermaine O’Neal had 21 points and set an Indiana franchise record for career blocked shots as the Pacers snapped a three-game losing streak.
“I have mixed emotions,” Dunleavy said of playing against the team coached by his father, Mike Dunleavy Sr. “I wanted to beat him real bad, but I also want to see them do well. I hope they win the rest of their games, but the most important thing is our team.”
The Pacers took control with a 16-0 run at the end of the second quarter and built their lead to 23 points early in the third period.
The Clippers rallied within seven points midway through the final quarter, but O’Neal then hit two straight baskets and Dunleavy added another to push Indiana’s lead to 89-76. Los Angeles came no closer than 11 points the rest of the way.
“I asked him, `Do you always shoot this well against your dad?”’ Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said of the younger Dunleavy’s shooting. “He said it’s usually feast or famine.
“The way he played today not only was a real key for us to win but demonstrated the kind of tone he can bring to our team,” Carlisle said.
“We’re finding out he’s a much better defensive player than people ever gave him credit for,” Carlisle said. “He’s working hard on his whole game, particularly his shooting. And you can see the progress he’s made.”
Dunleavy hit both of his 3-point attempts Sunday, and his 20 points marked the first time this season he has scored at least that many in consecutive games.
“He’s playing comfortably in this (Pacers) system,” said Mike Dunleavy Sr., who has won nine of 14 matchup against his son’s teams.
“It used to be the worst thing there was, playing against your son, because it’s the first time in your life you don’t want him to win,” the elder Dunleavy said. “Now that part has gotten a little bit easier, and it’s just a game.”
O’Neal had four blocked shots, giving him 1,113 for his career with the Pacers and breaking the franchise record of 1,111 by former Pacers center Rik Smits.
Indiana forward Danny Granger was hospitalized for examination after hitting the floor in the third quarter.
“I just saw that he missed a tip and saw him in a heap on the floor,” Carslise said.
“We’re hopeful it’s nothing serious,” he said. “He was able to respond and answer questions. We’re going to have to cross our fingers and hope he’s OK.”
Marquis Daniels added 14 points and Jamaal Tinsley had 10 points and a season-high 15 assists for Indiana. Los Angeles, losing for the 22nd time in the past 26 games against the Pacers, was led by Cuttino Mobley with 23 points and Elton Brand and Sam Cassell with 14 each.
“We missed easy shots, easy threes,” Mobley said. “We didn’t play any defense. When the offense is stagnant like it was, we allowed them to tip balls, get easy lay-ins and let them run their offense and get easy fast breaks.”
The Clippers did not score over the final 4:14 of the second quarter, when the Pacers turned a four-point lead to a 52-32 advantage.
Cassell scored 11 points in the third quarter as Los Angeles cut the lead to seven, but a basket by Dunleavy started another 8-0 run that pushed the Pacers’ lead to 77-62 starting the final period.
O’Neal, who left the game with two early fouls in the first quarter, returned in the second period and scored seven points during Indiana’s big run. The Clippers had four turnovers during that stretch, including three straight possessions that led to layups by Dunleavy and Tinsley and three free throws by O’Neal.
Tinsley scored again after an offensive foul by Brand, and a 3-pointer by Dunleavy with 2 seconds remaining gave the Pacers their 20-point lead at the break.
The 32 points in the first two quarters for the Clippers were a season low, two fewer than they scored in the second half of a 94-77 loss at Cleveland on Wednesday.
Indiana was without guard Darrell Armstrong, suspended by the NBA for one game following his ejection during Friday’s loss to Denver. … Doug Christie signed a second 10-day contract with the Clippers before the game and was scoreless in 8 minutes. Cory Maggette, who missed the past two games with the flu, was activated and had 8 points in 26 minutes for the Clippers.