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NBA   FINAL            1ST  2ND  3RD  4TH   TOTAL
                       ---  ---  ---  ---   -----
      INDIANA          23   21   22   30    96   
      NEW JERSEY       17   17   29   20    83      FINAL

HIGH SCORERS:   IND - JERMAINE O'NEAL 31, AUSTIN CROSHERE 17, 
                      JEFF FOSTER 16
                NJN - VINCE CARTER 25, RODNEY BUFORD 20, 
                      RICHARD JEFFERSON 20

HIGH REBOUND:   IND - JEFF FOSTER 16, JERMAINE O'NEAL 7, FRED 
                      JONES 7
                NJN - JASON KIDD 11, VINCE CARTER 8, JASON 
                      COLLINS 8

HIGH ASSISTS:   IND - REGGIE MILLER 7, JAMAAL TINSLEY 7, 
                      ANTHONY JOHNSON 4
                NJN - JASON KIDD 10, RICHARD JEFFERSON 4, 
                      VINCE CARTER 3

         ATT:   20,174

Box Score

INDIANA (96) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp M Curry 20 0-2 0-0 1-1 2 5 0 J O'Neal 39 13-25 4-6 2-7 2 6 31 J Foster 26 6-6 4-5 5-16 0 4 16 R Miller 35 2-9 2-2 0-1 7 4 8 J Tinsley 37 5-18 2-3 0-4 7 1 15 A Johnson 21 0-2 0-0 1-3 4 1 0 F Jones 30 1-4 3-8 0-7 2 5 5 D Harrison 11 1-1 1-3 1-3 0 1 3 A Croshere 18 5-8 5-5 0-2 0 0 17 E Gill 1 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 J Jones 1 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 J Edwards 1 0-0 1-2 0-1 0 0 1 _____________________________________________________ TOTALS 240 33-75 22-34 10-45 24 27 96 _____________________________________________________ Percentages: FG-.440, FT-.647. 3-Point Goals: 8-22, .364 (J O'Neal 1-1, R Miller 2-8, J Tinsley 3-10, A Johnson 0-1, A Croshere 2-2). Team Rebounds: 9. Blocked Shots:6 (A Croshere 2, D Harrison 2, J O'Neal, F Jones). Turnovers:14 (J O'Neal 5, J Tinsley 2, D Harrison 2, F Jones 2, M Curry, A Croshere, J Foster). Steals: 13 (J Tinsley 3, M Curry 2, F Jones 2, A Johnson 2, R Miller, J O'Neal, D Harrison, A Croshere). NEW JERSEY (83) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp R Jefferson 44 4-15 12-13 2-6 4 4 20 J Collins 36 1-5 3-4 3-8 1 6 5 N Krstic 15 2-5 0-0 1-1 0 6 4 V Carter 42 9-20 6-9 2-8 3 5 25 J Kidd 36 2-6 0-2 1-11 10 1 4 J Smith 20 0-2 1-2 1-5 0 3 1 T Best 12 2-7 0-0 0-0 1 0 4 R Buford 31 8-13 0-0 2-7 2 0 20 J Moiso 2 0-0 0-0 0-1 0 1 0 K Dickens 2 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 J Vaughn DNP - COACH'S DECISION B Scalabrine DNP - UPPER RESPIRATORY INFECTI _____________________________________________________ TOTALS 240 28-73 22-30 12-47 21 26 83 _____________________________________________________ Percentages: FG-.384, FT-.733. 3-Point Goals: 5-11, .455 (R Jefferson 0-2, V Carter 1-1, J Kidd 0-2, T Best 0-1, R Buford 4-5). Team Rebounds: 6. Blocked Shots:4 (R Jefferson 2, T Best, N Krstic). Turnovers:18 (J Kidd 5, V Carter 4, R Jefferson 3, J Collins 3, J Smith 2, T Best). Steals: 6 (J Kidd 2, J Collins 2, V Carter, J Smith). ------------------------------------------- INDIANA 23 21 22 30 - 96 NEW JERSEY 17 17 29 20 - 83 ------------------------------------------- Technical fouls: New Jersey - 1 (R Jefferson, 8:57 2nd). Flagrant fouls: Indiana 1 (M Curry, 5:14 4th). A: 20,174. T: 2:22. Officials: Bill Spooner, Phil Robinson, Sean Corbin.


Extended Box

INDIANA (96) AT NEW JERSEY (83) INDIANA REBOUNDS PLAYER POS MIN FGM-FGA FTM-FTA OFF-DEF-TOT AST PF ST TO PTS ====== === === ======= ======= =========== === == == == === M CURRY F 20 0-2 0-0 1 0 1 2 5 2 1 0 J O'NEAL F 39 13-25 4-6 2 5 7 2 6 1 5 31 J FOSTER C 26 6-6 4-5 5 11 16 0 4 0 1 16 R MILLER G 35 2-9 2-2 0 1 1 7 4 1 0 8 J TINSLEY G 37 5-18 2-3 0 4 4 7 1 3 2 15 A JOHNSON 21 0-2 0-0 1 2 3 4 1 2 0 0 F JONES 30 1-4 3-8 0 7 7 2 5 2 2 5 D HARRISON 11 1-1 1-3 1 2 3 0 1 1 2 3 A CROSHERE 18 5-8 5-5 0 2 2 0 0 1 1 17 E GILL 1 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 J JONES 1 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 J EDWARDS 1 0-0 1-2 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 1 TOTALS 240 33-75 22-34 10 35 45 24 27 13 14 96 (.440) (.647) TEAM REBS: 9 TOTAL TO: 14 (19 PTS) NEW JERSEY REBOUNDS PLAYER POS MIN FGM-FGA FTM-FTA OFF-DEF-TOT AST PF ST TO PTS ====== === === ======= ======= =========== === == == == === R JEFFERSON F 44 4-15 12-13 2 4 6 4 4 0 3 20 J COLLINS F 36 1-5 3-4 3 5 8 1 6 2 3 5 N KRSTIC C 15 2-5 0-0 1 0 1 0 6 0 0 4 V CARTER G 42 9-20 6-9 2 6 8 3 5 1 4 25 J KIDD G 36 2-6 0-2 1 10 11 10 1 2 5 4 J SMITH 20 0-2 1-2 1 4 5 0 3 1 2 1 T BEST 12 2-7 0-0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 4 R BUFORD 31 8-13 0-0 2 5 7 2 0 0 0 20 J MOISO 2 0-0 0-0 0 1 1 0 1 0 0 0 K DICKENS 2 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 J VAUGHN DNP - COACH'S DECISION B SCALABRINE DNP - UPPER RESPIRATORY INFECTI TOTALS 240 28-73 22-30 12 35 47 21 26 6 18 83 (.384) (.733) TEAM REBS: 6 TOTAL TO: 19 (30 PTS) INDIANA 23 21 22 30 - 96 NEW JERSEY 17 17 29 20 - 83 BLOCKED SHOTS: INDIANA - A CROSHERE 2, D HARRISON 2, J O'NEAL, F JONES. NEW JERSEY - R JEFFERSON 2, T BEST, N KRSTIC. 3-PT. FIELD GOALS: INDIANA 8-22 (.364), J O'NEAL 1-1, R MILLER 2-8, J TINSLEY 3-10, A JOHNSON 0-1, A CROSHERE 2-2. NEW JERSEY 5-11 (. 455), R JEFFERSON 0-2, V CARTER 1-1, J KIDD 0-2, T BEST 0-1, R BUFORD 4- 5. TECHNICAL FOULS: NEW JERSEY - R JEFFERSON. FLAGRANT FOULS: INDIANA 1 (M CURRY, 5:14 4TH). OFFICIALS: BILL SPOONER, PHIL ROBINSON, SEAN CORBIN. A - 20,174. T - 2:22.


Game Story

EAST RUTHERFORD, New Jersey (Ticker) -- Jermaine O' Neal celebrated his reprieve by ruining Vince Carter's home debut. After learning that the reduction of his suspension was upheld, O'Neal scored 31 points to lead the Indiana Pacers to a 96-83 victory over the New Jersey Nets, who were playing in front of the biggest home crowd in team history. A federal judge ruled earlier Thursday that O'Neal did not have to serve the remaining 10 games of the 25-game suspension imposed by NBA commissioner David Stern for fighting with fans during the fourth quarter of a November 19 game against the Detroit Pistons. The ruling makes permanent the temporary decision U.S. District Judge George B. Daniels made last week, which allowed O'Neal to return to the Pacers after his suspension was reduced to 15 games by an arbitrator. "It's a relief, it's something I don't have to think about," he said. "It was a black spot in the back of my mind. I'm extremely happy and I'm extremely fortunate (Daniels) looked at the facts of the case and made the decision. "It's a huge relief just knowing that it is finally over and I can put it behind me. I'm totally apologetic to the fans, but life does go on and like anyone else, I want to move on." Playing with a clear head, the All-Star forward had his game working from the outset despite a energetic crowd of 20,174 that showed up to see Carter's first home game at Continental Airlines Arena. O'Neal scored the first five points of the game as the Pacers jumped out to a 9-0 lead. He had 15 points on 6-of-8 shooting in the first quarter and Indiana led by as many as 16 in the second quarter. "With each game his conditioning has gotten better and it's obvious he kept himself in great condition during the suspension," Indiana coach Rick Carlisle said. "He played a monster game." Carter missed his first three shots but brought the crowd to its feet with 7:13 left in the first quarter, with a reverse dunk off a half-court pass from Jason Kidd. He finished with 25 points and eight rebounds but could not offset the inside presence of O'Neal and center Jeff Foster, who had 16 points on 6-of-6 shooting and 16 rebounds. New Jersey rallied to cut the deficit to 66-65 with 10:06 left in the game, but O'Neal scored seven points during a 15-4 run. He started the spurt with a three-point play and added a jumper before burying a turnaround jumper for an 81-69 cushion with 6:23 to go. "Unfortunately we were climbing an uphill battle and every time we got it close, we just made some mistakes," Nets coach Lawrence Frank said. "We just created too much of a deficit and Jermaine stepped up and that's why he's one of the elite players in the league." Jamaal Tinsley scored 15 points and Austin Croshere had 15 of his 17 in the second quarter for the Pacers, who have won three of four games since O'Neal's return. "There were a lot of guys whop stepped up in critical roles," Carlisle said. "We're starting to play like a team. It's regaining an identity and that's good news for us." Rodney Buford scored 20 points and Richard Jefferson added 20 despite 4-of-15 shooting for the Nets. Kidd had 11 rebounds and 10 assists but managed only four points on 2-of-6 from the floor. The Nets were without forward Brian Scalabrine, who sat out with a respiratory infection, further exposing their weak frontcourt. O'Neal and Foster combined for 47 points and 23 rebounds while New Jersey rookie center Nenad Krstic and power forward Jason Collins totaled only nine points and nine rebounds before both fouled out. "Whenever this team jells, we're going to be making all the plays," Carter said. "It just takes time. Hopefully, in the meantime, we can just survive."


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