Final

Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 2)

Series starts 12/6

Game 1: Friday, December 6th
Pacers92Final
Suns102
Game 2: Sunday, March 30th
Suns81Final
Pacers92

Pacers 92

(15-4, 6-3 away)

Suns 102

(10-8, 9-3 home)

    7:00 PM ET, December 6, 2002

    US Airways Center, Phoenix, AZ

    1 2 3 4 T
    IND 36 16 18 2292
    PHX 29 29 15 29102

    Top Performers

    Ind: J. Tinsley 16 Pts, 4 Reb, 10 Ast, 4 Stl

    PHX: S. Marion 16 Pts, 7 Reb, 3 Ast, 3 Stl, 3 Blk

    Marbury, Hardaway propel Suns past Pacers

    PHOENIX (AP) -- When the Phoenix Suns look at the Indiana Pacers, they see the team they want to become.

    Stephon Marbury
    Marbury

    For one night, they outpaced the Eastern Conference pacesetters.

    Stephon Marbury had 19 points and nine assists and all five Phoenix starters reached double figures Friday night in a 102-96 victory.

    The Suns topped 100 points for the second time this season and outscored the Pacers 10-3 over the final 3:05 in a tight, up-and-down game.

    Penny Hardaway added 18 points, five in the final 2:19, and grabbed eight rebounds to help offset his seven turnovers. The Suns dominated the boards 44-29.

    "That is a fun game to play,'' Hardaway said. "We're trying to get to that style, and we're going to eventually get there. Our defense is pretty good. We've just got to keep making shots.''

    Jermaine O'Neal scored 25 for the Pacers, who have lost two of their last three _ all on the road. Jamaal Tinsley had 16 points and 10 assists.

    "I didn't think we really played Pacer basketball,'' O'Neal said. "That's what we do. We play tough defense. We rebound. We make it hard for other teams to score. We didn't get any of that tonight.''

    Indiana entered the game second in the NBA in opponent's field goal percentage at .409. The Suns, the fourth-worst shooting team in the NBA going into the game at .405, shot 51 percent.

    "That is the second game in a row where a team shot above 50 percent against us,'' Indiana coach Isiah Thomas said. "We haven't had much practice time, and there's been a real slippage in our defense.''

    Shawn Marion had 16 points and rookie Amare Stoudemire 14 for the Suns. Jake Tsakalidis, activated from the injured list earlier in the day, started and scored a season-high 13, seven in the first four minutes of the fourth quarter.

    Marion's 3-pointer gave Phoenix the lead for good, 95-93 with 3:04 to play. Hardaway's layup on a pass from Stoudemire made it 97-93 with 2:19 to play.

    O'Neal was called for an offensive foul against Bo Outlaw, and a technical foul, on Indiana's next possession, and Hardaway's free throw put Phoenix up 98-93 with 2:09 to go.

    "That was a big win for us,'' Suns coach Frank Johnson said. "Just the balanced scoring from our starters was huge, and Bo's energy was outstanding again.''

    O'Neal's three-point play cut the lead to 98-96 with 1:33 left, but Stoudemire's tip-in with 1:17 to play gave Phoenix a 100-96 lead.

    "That was a must-get rebound, you know what I mean,'' Stoudemire said.

    Reggie Miller, 4-for-4 from the field up to that point, missed two 3-pointers and O'Neal misfired twice, once from 3-point range, after that.

    The Suns, shot 59 percent (26-for-44) and Indiana 57 percent (20-for-35) in the first half. Phoenix led 58-56 at the break.

    The 20-year-old Stoudemire, matched against O'Neal most of the game, scored six _ four on monster stuffs _ in a 15-2 run that put the Suns up 52-48 with 3:18 left in the half.

    "Amare, all you have to do is throw it in the vicinity of the rim and he's going to dunk it, no matter how you throw it,'' Hardaway said.

    Phoenix led by as many as six before Indiana scored the final four points of the half.

    There were seven lead changes in the third quarter, with the Pacers leading 74-73 entering the fourth.

    Tsakalidis scored five as Phoenix scored the first eight points of the fourth quarter to take its biggest lead, 81-74, but Indiana followed with a 9-2 spurt to tie it at 83. The lead changed hands six times after that.

    Game notes


    To make room for Tsakalidis, the Suns placed Tom Gugliotta on the injured list with a bruised foot. ... Phoenix is 9-3 at home. The Suns play their next five on the road, where they are 1-5. ... O'Neal scored 10 in the first quarter. ... Indiana is 2-2 on its Western road trip with a stop in Denver on Saturday. ... Phoenix had 20 turnovers, but only two in the fourth quarter. Indiana had 18.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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    Team Stat Comparison

     
    IND
    PHX
    Points 92 102
    FGM-FGA 37-76 (.487) 41-80 (.513)
    3PM-3PA 3-14 (.214) 4-7 (.571)
    FTM-FTA 19-24 (.792) 16-24 (.667)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 5-29 14-44
    Assists 17 26
    Turnovers 18 20
    Steals 11 7
    Blocks 6 5
    Fast Break Points 8 2
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 21 (1/0) 22 (1/0)

    Top Performers

    Indiana
    Phoenix
    Jamaal Tinsley Tinsley
    Points: 16
    Reb: 4
    Ast: 10
    Stl: 4
    Blk: 0
    Shawn Marion Marion
    Points: 16
    Reb: 7
    Ast: 3
    Stl: 3
    Blk: 3