Regular Season Series (Game 3 of 3)

Series starts 11/1

Game 1: Friday, November 1st
Game 2: Thursday, February 20th
Game 3: Wednesday, April 16th

Nets 83

(49-33, 16-25 away)

Pacers 90

(48-34, 32-9 home)

    Coverage: FSMW

    7:00 PM ET, April 16, 2003

    Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN

    1 2 3 4 T
    NJ 19 18 23 2383
    IND 19 17 27 2790

    Top Performers

    New Jersey: A. Williams 14 Pts, 9 Reb, 1 Ast

    Indiana: J. O'Neal 26 Pts, 10 Reb, 3 Ast, 3 Stl

    Pacers will face Celtics in first round of playoffs

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Al Harrington raised his arms in apparent celebration, his eyes fixed on the rim waiting for Ron Artest's jumper to swish through for a milestone moment.

    Al Harrington

    Instead, the ball clanked off the rim and Harrington ended one assist shy of his first triple-double.

    Harrington had 17 points and 12 rebounds and Jermaine O'Neal added 26 points and 10 rebounds, as the Indiana Pacers secured third place in the Eastern Conference with a 90-83 win over the New Jersey Nets on Wednesday night.

    "The guys on the bench let you know everything that's going on in the game,'' Harrington said. "They said, 'Don't shoot the ball. Pass.' I tried.''

    The effort was still enough to boost the Pacers seeding in the playoffs.

    The Pacers had already earned home-court advantage in the first round, but needed a victory or a Philadelphia loss to gain a spot in the standings. Indiana will play Boston and New Jersey faces Milwaukee this weekend.

    "We had a lot of fun and played the way we're supposed to play,'' Harrington said.

    Jamaal Tinsley had 10 points and 12 assists, Artest added 16 points and Reggie Miller 14 for the Pacers (48-34).

    The Nets clinched the Atlantic Division on Tuesday and rested their starters for most of the game. Jason Kidd and Kenyon Martin each scored 11 points in 21 minutes. Neither Kidd, Martin, Jason Collins nor Kerry Kittles played in the second and fourth quarters.

    Anthony Johnson led the Nets with 16 points and Aaron Williams added 14.

    "The guys who haven't played a lot came in and did some good things,'' Nets coach Byron Scott said.

    New Jersey's reserves gave the Pacers fits for most of the game.

    It wasn't until late in the third when the Pacers snapped out of a funk following the ejection of Collins. Collins was thrown out after committing a flagrant foul on Miller, who was driving for a layup under the basket.

    Collins knocked Miller to the floor, where he stayed down for several minutes before getting up to make two free throws that tied the game at 50.

    After Collins' foul, both teams were quickly separated and sent back to their benches by the officials, and there were no further altercations.

    "We'll see them again,'' Harrington said. "It's not over.''

    The Pacers took a three-point lead into the fourth and never trailed again.

    Artest finished with two fast-break dunks on consecutive possessions, one off a steal by Harrington, the other by Artest to maintain a three-point lead. The Pacers never led by more than seven.

    Both teams were 34-15 at one point until second-half swoons denied them 50 wins. The Pacers lost 15 of 20 at one point, but have played better the last two weeks.

    "These guys had every reason to quit and they kept persevering, overcoming obstacles and scratched out 48 wins,'' Pacers coach Isiah Thomas said.

    Game notes

    The Nets (49-33) were looking for consecutive 50-win seasons for the first time in their NBA history. They won 50 or more for three straight seasons (1973-76) in the ABA. ... The Pacers were the eighth seed the past two years, losing in the first round each time. The last time they advanced past the first round was in 2000 when they lost to the Lakers in the NBA Finals. ... The rules define a flagrant foul as unnecessary contact. Collins received a flagrant-2 foul, which brings an automatic ejection. That foul is defined as contact deemed unnecessary and excessive. ... The Pacers finished 32-9 at home. ... New Jersey center Dikembe Mutombo was placed on the injured list Wednesday, two days after missing the Nets' regular-season home finale for personal reasons. The Nets said Mutombo has a sore right wrist. ... New Jersey won the season series 2-1.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 83 90
    FGM-FGA 34-78 (.436) 35-86 (.407)
    3PM-3PA 5-16 (.313) 2-15 (.133)
    FTM-FTA 10-12 (.833) 18-24 (.750)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 10-37 17-51
    Assists 15 30
    Turnovers 15 11
    Steals 4 12
    Blocks 4 2
    Fast Break Points 5 11
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 22 (1/1) 19 (1/0)

    Top Performers

    New Jersey
    Aaron Williams Williams
    Points: 14
    Reb: 9
    Ast: 1
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 0
    Jermaine O'Neal O'Neal
    Points: 26
    Reb: 10
    Ast: 3
    Stl: 3
    Blk: 0