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Indiana puts it away in third quarter

5/16/2004

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Jeff Foster delivered a career performance
when the Indiana Pacers needed him most.

With Indiana reeling from two straight losses in Miami, Foster
had career highs of 20 points and 16 rebounds on Saturday night to
lead the Pacers to a 94-83 win over the Heat and a 3-2 lead in
their best-of-seven Eastern Conference semifinal.

"It was fun, I haven't scored 20 points since college," the
five-year veteran said. "We needed a win, and we got a win, and I
was just able to be a part of it offensively, which normally I'm
not."

The 6-foot-11 center spearheaded a Pacers frontline that figured
to dominate the smaller Heat but had yet to do so in the series.

"He led this team," Indiana All-Star Jermaine O'Neal said. "A
lot of energy and a lot of big plays."

O'Neal added 22 points and eight rebounds for the Pacers, who
exploded in the third quarter to get rid of the pesky Heat.

Miami came into the game holding a 23-rebound advantage over the
bigger, burlier Pacers.

Indiana finally flexed its muscle in Game 5. The Pacers
outrebounded Miami 47-30. Foster had seven offensive rebounds, as
many as the entire Heat team.

"Jeff Foster stepped in with the most important and best game
of his career," Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said. "He played a
great game."

Indiana also outscored the Heat 42-26 in the paint and 20-4 in
second-chance points.

Game 6 is Tuesday in Miami, where the Heat have won 18 straight
games, including two convincing victories over the Pacers that
evened the series.

As has been the case all postseason, the Heat looked like a
completely different team on the road.

"It's kind of mind boggling to try to figure out what the
difference was in the way we played," Heat forward Caron Butler
said.

After shooting 51.4 percent in Game 4 and playing with boundless
energy in both games in Miami, the Heat were overwhelmed in their
sixth straight road loss in the playoffs.

"We weren't great offensively by any means, but the problem
today was defense," Heat coach Stan Van Gundy said. "We were
pathetic defensively today and I have to take responsibility for
that."

Lamar Odom had 14 points and 10 rebounds for Miami, but was far
from the force he was at home. Foster harassed him all night,
forcing him to miss seven of his first eight shots and rendering
him a non-factor for most of the night.

Dwyane Wade, who tormented the Pacers with dribble penetration
for most of the series, finished with 16 points and 10 assists.
This time, however, the Pacers clamped down on the slick rookie and
made it much more difficult for him to get into the paint.

"That was just what we've been trying to do the whole series --
keep them from opening things up," Foster said.

Defensive Player of the Year Ron Artest had a lot to do with
that, too.

The Pacers took a five-point lead into halftime, then put the
game away with a spectacular third quarter on both ends of the
floor.

Carlisle switched Artest on to Wade and it made all the
difference.

Visibly frustrated, Wade scored just two points on 1-of-4
shooting in the third.

O'Neal had nine points and five rebounds and Foster chipped in
eight points and three boards in the period. The Pacers shot 80
percent and held Miami to 31.6 percent shooting to take a 73-54
lead into the final period.

O'Neal and Foster fueled a 20-6 run to start the period and
played with enthusiasm rarely exhibited this season.

When Jamaal Tinsley drove the lane and dished to Artest for a
layup and a 15-point lead, O'Neal pumped his fist furiously and
Tinsley let out an exuberant scream that brought Conseco Fieldhouse
to a deafening roar.

"Our energy level was just 10 times different than it was in
Games 3 and 4," said Reggie Miller, who scored 13 points.
"Hopefully we can bottle this and take it with us down to South
Beach."

Foster, who averaged just 6.1 points during the regular season,
got his career high in points with two free throws late in the
fourth quarter as the capacity crowd chanted "Foster! Foster!"

Artest overcame a slow start to get 14 points and six assists
for Indiana.

Miami had six players score in double figures, but it wasn't
nearly enough to compete with Foster, O'Neal and the Pacers, who
shot 51.4 percent.

"His energy was just over the top tonight," Miami's Malik
Allen said of Foster. "He really, really came with it and
energized this whole team and the crowd. We have to find a way to
match that."<
^Notes@ Miller picked up a technical foul for arguing at 5:47 of the
first quarter. ... Some of the sellout crowd arrived a bit late
after attending Pole Day for the Indy 500 at Indianapolis Motor
Speedway. ... Allen was 3-for-3 in the first quarter and finished
with 12 points. ... Pacers G Fred Jones did not play with a
strained left shoulder.