Regular Season Series (Game 2 of 4)

Series starts 11/21

Game 1: Friday, November 21st
Game 2: Saturday, January 3rd
Game 3: Tuesday, February 17th
Game 4: Friday, February 27th

Hornets 84

(21-13, 11-9 away)

Pacers 91

(25-10, 13-4 home)

    Coverage: FSMW

    8:00 PM ET, January 3, 2004

    Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN

    1 2 3 4 T
    NO 10 29 16 2984
    IND 29 21 25 1691

    Top Performers

    NO: B. Davis 35 Pts, 6 Reb, 3 Ast, 3 Stl

    Ind: J. O'Neal 26 Pts, 16 Reb, 1 Ast, 2 Stl, 6 Blk

    Shoving match escalates into fight

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- A fight-marred matchup of the Indiana Pacers and New Orleans Hornets turned an intense rivalry into a bitter one Saturday night.

    The Pacers never trailed in a 91-84 victory that was filled with hard fouls, tough defense and a shoving match between Indiana's Al Harrington and New Orleans' George Lynch that escalated into a fight and led to the ejections of Harrington, Lynch and New Orleans center Jamaal Magloire.

    "They don't like us and we don't like them," Hornets guard Baron Davis said. "That's just how it's going to be."

    Jermaine O'Neal had 26 points, 16 rebounds and six blocks to lead the Pacers, with Jamaal Tinsley adding 18 points and nine assists.

    The fight broke out with 9:15 to play when Harrington fouled Lynch near the Pacers' bench. Lynch elbowed Harrington in the jaw and Harrington responded by first shoving Lynch, then tackling him into the Pacers' bench.

    A melee ensued, with several Hornets and Pacers piling into the area.

    "With two competitive teams in a highly visible game, every once in awhile you're going to see things escalate," Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said.

    As several players, including O'Neal and Ron Artest, tried to break up the fight, Magloire came from across the court and dived into the pile. O'Neal tried to restrain Magloire and pull him away, and Magloire responded by shoving O'Neal.

    After an extended delay, the three ejections were announced and play resumed with Indiana leading 75-57.

    Harrington said no punches were thrown, but it was clear that plenty of animosity will carry over to their next game -- Feb. 17 at Indianapolis.

    When told of Davis' comment, Harrington said, "Well, we don't like them neither. The NBA better bring all their best officiating crews and plenty of security, because it's going to be a war the next time we see them."

    The Pacers led by as many as 23 in the second quarter, but the Hornets wouldn't go away. Davis got their deficit down to 81-73 on a jump shot with just over three minutes to play, but they never got closer than six.

    Davis led the Hornets with 35 points on 12-for-25 shooting and P.J. Brown added 13 points and 14 rebounds.

    Davis complained that the Pacers were delivering cheap shots all game.

    "That's how it's going to be every time we play them," Davis said. "People are going to fall, get elbowed, get cheap-shotted. If that's how they're going to play, that's how it's going to be from here on out."

    That's just fine with Harrington.

    "It's on now," Harrington said. "Every time we play them, it's going to be a very good basketball game."

    Carlisle has been prodding his team to start faster, and they did.

    O'Neal scored 13 points and Reggie Miller added nine in the first quarter to help Indiana take a 29-10 lead.

    "Our response early in the game was good," Carlisle said. "Then it became important for us just to find a way to win."

    Indiana stretched its lead in the third quarter on a brilliant flurry from Artest, who blocked a dunk attempt by Robert Traylor, then threw down a fast-break dunk to give the Pacers a 65-46 lead.

    Things got interesting in the fourth as ejections and fouls mounted. New Orleans had 30 personal fouls, with P.J. Brown fouling out.

    The Pacers had 31 personal fouls, with Tinsley and Artest fouling out.

    "As the game was winding down, we were running out of bodies with the ejections and foul outs," Carlisle said. "I'm proud of how our guys hung in there."

    Game notes

    Hornets G David Wesley drew a technical foul with 8:54 to play in the first for arguing an offensive foul call. ... Tinsley also received a technical for arguing shortly after the fight in the fourth quarter. ... Former Pacers coach and longtime radio analyst Bobby "Slick" Leonard returned to work after recovering from a mild heart attack on Dec. 3. He received a standing ovation from the crowd ... In Friday night's win over Boston, Miller passed Patrick Ewing for 13th place on the NBA's career scoring list with 23,819 points. Next up is Jerry West at No. 12 with 25,192.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 84 91
    FGM-FGA 28-74 (.378) 28-70 (.400)
    3PM-3PA 6-22 (.273) 6-17 (.353)
    FTM-FTA 22-29 (.759) 29-37 (.784)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 8-37 12-45
    Assists 19 23
    Turnovers 18 17
    Steals 7 11
    Blocks 3 8
    Fast Break Points 5 4
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 30 (4/0) 31 (2/0)

    Top Performers

    New Orleans
    Baron Davis Davis
    Points: 35
    Reb: 6
    Ast: 3
    Stl: 3
    Blk: 0
    Jermaine O'Neal O'Neal
    Points: 26
    Reb: 16
    Ast: 1
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 6