PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- Reggie Miller and Stephen Jackson scored
24 points each and the Indiana Pacers spoiled the Portland coach
Kevin Pritchard's debut with a 106-97 victory over the Trail
Blazers on Friday night.
The Pacers, playing just hours after learning they would be
without injured All-Star Jermaine O'Neal for the near future
because of a sprained right shoulder, snapped a three-game losing
Pritchard took over the Blazers as interim coach this week when
the team unexpectedly fired Maurice Cheeks.
Cheeks was popular among the players and the fans, but the
Blazers fell further out of playoff contention as losses mounted in
January and February. The Blazers went 41-41 last season and missed
the postseason for the first time in 22 years.
Portland has lost three straight and eight of its last 10.
Miller's 3-pointer made it 90-85 before Fred Jones' driving
layup and free throw gave Indiana its biggest lead of the game.
Jones answered with a 3-pointer for Indiana with 1:36 left, and
Jackson added a 23-foot jumper to seal it.
Abdur-Rahim led the Blazers with 27 points.
O'Neal went the injured list just as Indiana jostles for playoff
position in the Eastern Conference. He will miss at least five
O'Neal hurt his shoulder in the second quarter of Thursday
night's 96-87 loss to Denver, his armed knocked back by Denver's
Francisco Elson. O'Neal, who had an MRI in Portland earlier Friday,
sat at the end of the Pacers' bench wearing as sling.
Indiana signed former Pacer center Dale Davis, waived by New
Orleans earlier in the week, and gave him a start against the
The move brought Davis' career full-circle: He was the top draft
pick, 13th overall, by the Pacers in 1991. He spent the next nine
seasons in Indiana before he was traded to the Blazers in a deal
that sent O'Neal to Indiana.
The Blazers also were hurting. Earlier in the day, rookie center
Ha Seung Jin was activated from the injured list to fill the roster
spot left by Ruben Patterson, who went on the injured list the day
before because of tendinitis in his right knee.
Guard Nick Van Exel sat on the bench in street clothes because
of an arthritic left knee, and forward Zach Randolph did not play
because of a sore right knee.
It was not unexpected that the Blazers would rest some of their
veterans. With the playoffs looking like an impossibility,
Pritchard -- the team's director of player personnel -- was named
interim coach to help evaluate the younger players.
That in mind, rookie guard Sebastian Telfair made his first
start. Telfair was the 13th overall pick in the draft out of
Lincoln High School in New York.
Telfair had 10 points and six assists.
The Blazers led 54-48 at the half, then went up 58-48 on
Telfair's jumper. The Pacers kept it close and tied it at 69 on
A Portland fan held aloft a sign: "Mo and Martha. Set
Free," in reference to both Cheeks and Martha Stewart, who was
released from federal prison this week after serving five months
for a stock scandal. ... Indiana waived forward Michael Curry.