O'Neal scores 27, Pacers get first win since Artest's demand

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- The Indiana Pacers didn't need Ron Artest's
defense in the fourth quarter against Utah.

The Pacers held the Jazz to 4-for-19 shooting in the final
period en route to a 93-83 victory Friday night.

It was the Pacers' first win since management said it would look
to honor Artest's public request to be traded. Artest had averaged
19 points per game and led the league in steals before Indiana
deactivated him. The Pacers made up for his absence with hustle and
sound fundamentals.

"We got the loose balls in the second half that we didn't get
in the first half," Indiana forward Austin Croshere said. "Those
are the things we have to do. When you have to make up for a guy
who scores 19, 20 points, you have to execute better. You have to
do the little things."

Jermaine O'Neal had 27 points and 11 rebounds, and Croshere and
Stephen Jackson each added 16 points for the Pacers.

Croshere was 4-of-5 on 3-pointers. He said point guards Jamaal
Tinsley and Anthony Johnson controlled the pace of the game.

"Jamaal and A.J. did a great job of penetrating and kicking, I
got some open looks, spread the floor and opened things up for
Jermaine," Croshere said.

Indiana bounced back from Wednesday's 85-71 loss at Boston, its
worst offensive showing of the season. O'Neal shot 5-for-19 against
the Celtics, but went 10-for-19 against the Jazz.

Mehmet Okur led Utah with 19 points and 12 rebounds. Andrei
Kirilenko added 11 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds for the

Utah had won two in a row, including a surprising victory over
Detroit on Monday.

The Jazz led Indiana 62-61 at the end of the third quarter, but
the Pacers opened the fourth quarter on a 13-2 run, highlighted by
3-pointers from Johnson and Croshere.

"This was a winnable ball game on our part," Utah coach Jerry
Sloan said. "If you don't play hard, you get run over like a
steamroller. You have to be very disciplined to play them and beat

The Pacers made 28 of 33 free throws while Utah was 19-of-30.
Kirilenko made 3-of-8 and Jarron Collins 3-of-6.

"That's not any good," Utah's Deron Williams said. "You have
to get those points, those are freebies right there."

Indiana missed its first eight shots to open the game. The
Pacers had 12 turnovers in the first half, but O'Neal scored 14
points to help Indiana take a 38-37 lead into the break.

Williams scored 10 points in the third quarter. The Jazz made
eight consecutive shots during one stretch and led by as many as
five points in the period.

Williams scored 14 points, Collins 13 and Matt Harpring 12 for
the Jazz.

The Pacers improved to 3-2 in games Artest has missed this
season. The Pacers say they are going to be fine without him.

"He's not here," Jackson said. "We're not worrying about
where he's going ... We've got a job to do. I think we're worrying
about these 12, 15 guys coming out and playing together trying to
gain some kind of relationship on and off the court so we can get
this thing done the right way."

Game notes
Utah was called for defensive three seconds three times.
... Utah's Robert Whaley missed the game with a hand laceration.
Whaley cut his hand on glass the same night he was involved in a
bar fight. He later told the Jazz he cut his hand while taking a
sharp kitchen knife away from his 2-year-old son, and is facing
disciplinary action for lying to the team. ... Tinsley started
after missing the last five games with a strained left quad.