INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- The Indiana Pacers were one of the few teams
not to make a trade before Thursday's deadline. That suited coach
Rick Carlisle just fine.
Over the past three weeks, the Pacers have proved they can win
with their current roster -- even without the suspended Ron Artest.
Indiana won a season-high fifth straight game Friday night,
beating the Cleveland Cavaliers 106-82. Starting point guard Jamaal
Tinsley missed the game with a bruised foot and center Jeff Foster
sat with back spasms, but that still didn't stop the Pacers from
winning for the eighth time in their last 10 games.
"If there was a trade that would have helped us, we would have
made it," Carlisle said. "Coming into the deadline, we had won
seven out of nine, so there was no need to panic.
"Larry Bird is not going to panic. He knows what we have, and
we have a good team. It's just getting together now."
"I am beginning to let the game come to me," Jackson said. "I
want to work hard and score off my teammates' screens."
LeBron James had a tough night from the field, scoring 21 points
on 9-of-25 shooting. Zydrunas Ilgauskas added 20 points, 15
rebounds and four blocks for Cleveland, which shot 36 percent and
committed 15 turnovers.
"Our intensity just wasn't there," James said. "We have to
play better. We have a tough stretch coming up, and if we don't get
things right, we can lose four straight."
Indiana took control of the game in the second quarter, thanks
in part to its reserves. Eddie Gill started a 12-0 run with a
3-pointer, helping the Pacers open a 47-33 lead.
Indiana's bench outscored the Cavaliers by themselves in the
second quarter, 20-14. For the game, the Pacers' reserves held a
37-18 advantage over Cleveland's bench.
"That's our job to come in and provide a spark," said Pacers
forward Austin Croshere, who had 10 points and six rebounds. "We
mixed things up a little bit, got some offensive rebounds, knocked
down some shots and got the big lead."
Cleveland cut the deficit to 52-39 with 1:24 left in the second
quarter, but the Pacers scored six of the final eight points of the
half to take a 58-41 lead.
Indiana didn't let up in the third quarter, quickly extending
its lead to 66-45 after O'Neal's basket. Cleveland gradually
chipped away, getting within 76-61 after a three-point play by
James with less than a minute left in the period.
The Cavaliers added two more baskets to start the fourth to
trail 78-65, but that was as close as they would get. Jackson
sealed the victory, scoring all 11 Pacers points in the last 4:39.
"It was a bad effort," Cleveland coach Paul Silas said. "We
have to pick it up and move on."
Jiri Welsch made his debut with the Cavaliers. He entered
the game late in the first quarter and scored zero points in five
minutes. Cleveland acquired Welsch from Boston on Thursday for a
2007 first-round draft pick. ... Scot Pollard started at center for
the Pacers in place of Foster. ... The Pacers have beaten Cleveland
10 times in their last 11 games.