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Pacers don't miss O'Neal in win over Sonics

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Fred Jones knew that the Indiana Pacers
needed a strong start with two starters out.

Jones scored a season-high 26 points and Stephen Jackson added
22 to help the Pacers snap a four-game losing streak with a 115-96
victory over the SuperSonics on Monday night.

"We were able to put the losses behind us and get off to a good
start," said Jones, who hit 10 of 16 field goals to lead the
Pacers (16-12) to their highest scoring output of the season. "We
knew they were a good first-quarter team, but we were able to jump
out to the early lead."

All-Star forward Jermaine O'Neal sat out with the flu and guard
Jamaal Tinsley was sidelined with a torn right biceps. Jones said
he took it upon himself to play a bigger role with Tinsley out.

"I knew I had to put a lot more on my shoulders," he said.
"I've gotten a lot more confident in my game, and I've been trying
to take advantage of it."

The Pacers began by hitting seven 3-pointers in the first
quarter as they shot 14-of-21 (66.7 percent) from the field to race
out to a 38-23 lead.

Jackson made three 3-pointers, Anthony Johnson hit two shots
from behind the arc, and Jones and Sarunas Jasikevicius each
converted a 3. Seattle never recovered.

Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said Jones provided a much-needed
lift.

"As long as he plays with this kind of energy and force, he'll
get minutes and make things happen," Carlisle said.

The Pacers opened the game with an 11-2 run and Jackson finished
with 13 points in the first quarter.

Ray Allen had 24 points and Ronald Murray added 18 off the bench
for Seattle (13-17), which placed five players in double figures.

Jasikevicius came off the bench to score a career-high 20 points
for Indiana.

"These first quarters have been a problem," Allen said. "When
we covered penetration, their jump shots were falling. And when
their jump shots weren't falling, we gave up too much penetration.
We are having so many breakdowns, defensively."

Seattle was able to close to 54-45 late in the second quarter,
but the Pacers finished the first half with a 9-2 run. Seattle
coach Bob Weiss said his team struggled to defend the Pacers'
shooters.

"We had people trying to run at them," he said. "But Jackson
and Johnson were really attacking us. We also didn't really have an
answer for Fred Jones.

"Even though we shot 44 percent, they just kept coming at
us."

Game notes
The Pacers set season highs by scoring 38 points in the
first quarter and 63 in the first half as they shot 62 percent
(22-for-35) from the field. ... Allen remains the only Sonic to
score in double figures in every game this season. ... The Pacers,
who never had two reserves score more than 20 points the same game
until last Friday against Toronto, have now recorded the feat in
back-to-back games.