Final

Regular Season Series (Game 3 of 4)

Series starts 11/12

Game 1: Tuesday, November 12th
Cavaliers75Final
Pacers95
Game 2: Friday, December 27th
Pacers113Final
Cavaliers89
Game 3: Tuesday, February 11th
Cavaliers96Final
Pacers107
Game 4: Wednesday, April 2nd
Pacers103Final
Cavaliers82

Cavaliers 96

(10-41, 3-25 away)

Pacers 107

(35-15, 23-3 home)

    Coverage: FSMW

    7:00 PM ET, February 11, 2003

    Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN

    1 2 3 4 T
    CLE 20 24 30 2296
    IND 33 23 28 23107

    Top Performers

    Cleveland: J. Jones 25 Pts, 7 Reb, 2 Ast, 1 Stl, 2 Blk

    Indiana: J. O'Neal 28 Pts, 8 Reb, 3 Ast, 2 Stl, 1 Blk

    Artest keeps cool despite being provoked

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Ron Artest wasn't going to let some late-game jabbering by Cleveland send him into a mental meltdown. Instead, a calm Artest simply walked away hoping to show he's a changed man.

    Ron Artest
    Artest

    Jermaine O'Neal scored 28 points and Brad Miller had 25 as the Indiana Pacers opened the second half of the season with Artest back in the lineup and coach Isiah Thomas on the sidelines in a 107-96 victory over Cleveland on Tuesday night.

    Artest scored 11 points in his first game since Jan. 27. More importantly, he walked away from the taunts of Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Jumaine Jones in the final minutes.

    Artest, who already has been suspended seven games this season for his behavior, felt Ilgauskas and Jones were trying to bait him into another incident.

    "I had a sense of that and I'm glad I caught on to that,'' Artest said. "Even if they weren't trying to bait me, I didn't like the fact they got in my face. But that's part of the game. I do the same thing.''

    Artest completed a four-game suspension and Thomas had served a two-game suspension. Even during the All-Star break, the pair were making news. Thomas, who coached the East, angered Ilgauskas by playing him only four minutes during Sunday's All-Star Game.

    Artest was erroneously reported to be involved in an altercation with Houston's James Posey at an NBA Players Association party in Atlanta. Turns out, Artest was at Disney World.

    "I'm not really sure where that came from. I was having a good time,'' Artest said.

    That good time extended onto the court, thanks to Jamaal Tinsley who led Indiana's fast-breaking offense with 17 points and five steals.

    The Cavaliers, who trailed by as many as 17 points in the first half, closed to 99-92 following a one-handed dunk by Ricky Davis.

    It was 102-94 when Artest leapt over Ilgauskas while going after a loose rebound. Ilgauskas took exception to the contact and said some words to Artest. Then, on Indiana's inbounds pass, Jones tried to antagonize Artest, but he wouldn't bite, putting his hand in front of his face in ignoring them.

    "When people come into the game saying 'Just bait him and he'll unravel,' what they're saying is 'The only way to beat him is to bait him,''' Thomas said.

    O'Neal would hit a baseline 3-pointer to seal the win.

    Jones led the Cavs with 25 points on 10-of-11 shooting, including 5-for-5 from 3-point range. Davis scored 23 and Ilgauskas had 18 points and 12 rebounds.

    It wasn't quite the performance Ilgauskas was hoping for.

    Cavs general manager Jim Paxson said Monday he hoped Ilgauskas "takes it out on Indiana'' over the All-Star benching. Instead, the 7-foot-3 Lithuanian scored only two points in the first half and didn't find his groove until it was too late.

    Ilgauskas said he didn't hold a grudge against Thomas.

    "I made the All-Star team. That's all that counts,'' he said. "I've been playing like that the whole season, so I didn't need any extra pressure on myself.''

    Rookie guard Carlos Boozer also was on the IR -- the Irritated Report -- after he had a ball bounced off his forehead by Golden State's Jason Richardson in the final seconds of Saturday's Rookie Challenge. He refused to talk about the incident during Tuesday's shootaround.

    Then he was burned early by Tinsley, who is known as a poor shooter (39 percent) because of his fondness for taking out-of-his range jumpers. Instead, he drove the lane against Boozer for high-percentage layups and dished to O'Neal and Miller down low.

    He didn't attempt a 3-pointer and went 8-for-14 from the floor, leading the Pacers to a 56-44 halftime lead.

    "I just came out and wanted to be aggressive,'' Tinsley said. "I started making shots so that made me more aggressive. Tonight, I was taking shots I was comfortable with.''

    The Pacers spoiled the return of Cleveland coach Keith Smart, whose baseline jumper gave Indiana University the 1987 NCAA championship over Syracuse. Smart received a nice ovation during pregame introductions.

    The Cavaliers have lost 11 of 13 games.

    "If I succeed and handle the things I can take care of, we can pull out some wins,'' Smart said.

    Game notes


    The Pacers are 16-7 with their regular starting lineup. ... O'Neal had his streak of nine straight double-doubles snapped. ... The Cavaliers haven't won two straight games all year. ... About three-quarters of the interview room has been converted into a player's-only game room, complete with pool table, ping-pong table and other assorted games.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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    Team Stat Comparison

     
    CLE
    IND
    Points 96 107
    FGM-FGA 37-75 (.493) 46-98 (.469)
    3PM-3PA 6-10 (.600) 3-10 (.300)
    FTM-FTA 16-23 (.696) 12-17 (.706)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 11-47 16-43
    Assists 26 34
    Turnovers 22 13
    Steals 4 12
    Blocks 13 4
    Fast Break Points 6 11
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 21 (1/0) 19 (0/0)

    Top Performers

    Cleveland
    Indiana
    Jumaine Jones Jones
    Points: 25
    Reb: 7
    Ast: 2
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 2
    Jermaine O'Neal O'Neal
    Points: 28
    Reb: 8
    Ast: 3
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 1