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NBA  FINAL            1ST  2ND  3RD  4TH  TOTAL
                      ---  ---  ---  ---  -----
     SEATTLE          22   27   21   10    80   
     INDIANA          28   19   27   19    93      FINAL

HIGH SCORERS:   SEA - GARY PAYTON 18, DESMOND MASON 17, KENNY 
                      ANDERSON 15
                IND - JERMAINE O'NEAL 14, RON MERCER 14, RON 
                      ARTEST 14

Box Score

SEATTLE (80) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp R Lewis 39 5-13 3-4 2-6 1 2 13 P Drobnjak 15 0-5 0-0 1-2 1 2 0 J James 20 2-5 2-2 2-9 0 4 6 B Barry 20 1-4 1-2 1-3 3 4 4 G Payton 38 8-15 2-2 1-5 8 4 18 D Mason 35 7-16 2-2 2-6 2 2 17 V Radmanovic 25 2-8 0-0 0-2 1 0 5 K Anderson 31 7-11 1-2 0-5 6 1 15 C Booth 17 1-3 0-0 1-3 0 2 2 V Potapenko DNP - COACH'S DECISION J Forte DNP - COACH'S DECISION A Sesay DNP - COACH'S DECISION _____________________________________________________ TOTALS 240 33-80 11-14 10-41 22 21 80 _____________________________________________________ Percentages: FG-.413, FT-.786. 3-Point Goals: 3-11, .273 (R Lewis 0-1, P Drobnjak 0-1, B Barry 1-3, G Payton 0-1, D Mason 1-1, V Radmanovic 1-4). Team Rebounds: 12. Blocked Shots:7 (C Booth 3, J James 3, R Lewis). Turnovers:18 (G Payton 4, R Lewis 4, V Radmanovic 4, B Barry 2, K Anderson 2, J James, D Mason). Steals: 6 (G Payton 2, K Anderson 2, R Lewis, J James). INDIANA (93) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp R Artest 27 4-9 4-4 1-7 2 3 14 J O'Neal 35 3-11 8-9 4-10 3 4 14 B Miller 20 1-7 5-6 2-5 5 2 7 R Miller 30 3-5 3-3 0-2 0 0 11 J Tinsley 35 4-7 3-4 1-5 4 2 11 A Harrington 32 5-13 2-2 1-8 1 3 12 R Mercer 26 6-15 2-2 1-1 1 1 14 A Croshere 8 1-5 0-0 0-0 0 0 2 J Foster 12 0-3 0-0 4-4 3 0 0 E Strickland 13 3-4 1-1 0-2 2 1 8 P Brezec 1 0-1 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 F Jones 1 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 _____________________________________________________ TOTALS 240 30-80 28-31 14-44 21 16 93 _____________________________________________________ Percentages: FG-.375, FT-.903. 3-Point Goals: 5-12, .417 (R Artest 2-4, R Miller 2-3, J Tinsley 0-1, A Croshere 0-2, E Strickland 1-2). Team Rebounds: 6. Blocked Shots:8 (J O'Neal 3, B Miller 2, R Artest, J Foster, J Tinsley). Turnovers:14 (A Harrington 4, J O'Neal 2, J Tinsley 2, B Miller 2, E Strickland, A Croshere, F Jones, R Artest). Steals: 10 (R Miller 3, R Artest 3, A Harrington 2, R Mercer, J Tinsley). ------------------------------------------- SEATTLE 22 27 21 10 - 80 INDIANA 28 19 27 19 - 93 ------------------------------------------- Technical fouls: Seattle - 4 (R Lewis, 9:19 2nd; G Payton 2 (ejected), 1:25 4th; COACH McMillan 2 (ejected), 1:26 4th; COACH McMillan, 4:39 4th). Indiana - 2 (B Miller, 0:41 2nd; J O'Neal, 1:10 2nd). Flagrant fouls: None. A: 15,302. T: 2:08.


Game Story

INDIANAPOLIS (Ticker) -- With their 12-game home winning streak in jeopardy, the Indiana Pacers put together their best defensive quarter of the season to defeat the Seattle SuperSonics, 93-80. Jermaine O'Neal, Ron Mercer and Ron Artest each scored 14 points to lead six Pacers in double figures, and Indiana held the Sonics to just 10 fourth-quarter points to improve to 20-1 at home. "We're just trying to get better. We work on everything hard in practice every day," Mercer said. "We just need to focus on sticking to our game plan and getting everyone healthy and on the same page." After Gary Payton's free throw with 1:12 left in the third quarter made it 69-69, Indiana took off on an 18-5 run. O'Neal's bucket with 4:22 left capped the burst at 87-74. O'Neal, who will be starting at center for the East in the All-Star Game on February 9, also had 10 rebounds. Since the Pacers already have clinched the best record in the conference, O'Neal will be playing for Indiana coach Isiah Thomas. "You want to protect what you have at home, play well at home," Thomas said. "You want the opponents to know this is a difficult place to play. And we want to make a team have to play extremely well to beat us at home." Payton scored 18 points before being ejected with 1:26 left in the game as Seattle dropped its fourth consecutive road contest. The Sonics went 5-of-15 from the field in the fourth quarter. "We just got out of sync late, we didn't execute, we threw the ball away," Payton said. "It hurts when we take quick shots and we don't play defense and they score quickly." The victory was the eighth in 10 games for the Pacers, who will try to complete a perfect three-game homestand Sunday against the Los Angeles Clippers. "I really couldn't tell, but I think we really stepped up the defense and I think that's really what carried us," Indiana forward Al Harrington said. Harrington scored 12 points while Jamaal Tinsley and Reggie Miller each contributed 11 for Indiana, which shot just 37.5 percent (30-of-80) but enjoyed a huge advantage at the foul line. Indiana was 28-of-31 from the line while the SuperSonics hit on 11 of just 14 attempts. That statistic may have prompted the comments that got Payton ejected as well as the subsequent departure of Seattle coach Nate McMillan. "I said something after a call, they took it the wrong way, I can't do nothing about that," Payton said. "I'm always going to be Gary. I'm always going to say something if I don't think the call was right." "There was too much grabbing and holding on (Payton) with quick whistles and a lot of calls," Seattle coach Nate McMillan said. "He was tired of it and I was tired of it." Mercer scored nine points in the fourth quarter, seven in the decisive spurt. "From the day he got here, he's been the ultimate pro," Thomas said. "I have nothing but positive things to say about him." Seattle held a 49-47 halftime lead and took its biggest advantage at 54-49 after Payton's three-point play 69 seconds into the second half. Indiana went ahead before Desmond Mason's jumper with 5:39 to go gave the Sonics a 61-60 edge, but O'Neal sank a pair from the line and Seattle never regained the lead. Mason scored 17 points and fellow reserve Kenny Anderson netted 15 for the Sonics, who shot 41 percent (33-of-80) from the floor in losing for the eighth time in 10 games.


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