Regular Season Series (Game 3 of 3)

Series starts 11/11

Game 1: Friday, November 11th
Game 2: Monday, January 16th
Game 3: Sunday, February 26th

Pacers 101

(28-25, 10-16 away)

Nets 91

(31-24, 18-8 home)

6:00 PM ET, February 26, 2006

IZOD Center, East Rutherford, NJ

1 2 3 4 T
IND 21 36 18 26101
NJ 22 22 26 2191

Top Performers

Ind: P. Stojakovic 22 Pts, 5 Reb, 2 Ast, 1 Stl, 1 Blk

NJ: J. Kidd 19 Pts, 8 Reb, 12 Ast, 2 Stl

Stojakovic, Jones score 22 as Pacers rip Nets

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- Peja Stojakovic's reputation as a scorer is well established, while new teammate Fred Jones has only recently started to carve out a name for himself.

Together, the two are turning into a potent one-two punch for Indiana.

Stojakovic and Jones scored 22 points apiece and the Pacers beat the New Jersey Nets 101-91 Sunday night to snap a six-game road losing streak.

Two nights earlier in a 117-112 overtime loss at home to Atlanta, Jones tied a career high with 31 points while Stojakovic had a season-high 34. In the 11 games since Stojakovic was traded to the Pacers for Ron Artest, Indiana (28-25) is 7-4.

"We're coming together more, learning each other's games a little better and getting a good feel for each other," Jones said. "We're having fun out there."

In his first 20 games this season, Jones averaged 6.6 points per game. That number has nearly doubled since then, making Jones a contender for the NBA's sixth man award.

Indiana's reserves keyed the effort against New Jersey, which was hurt by the absence of Vince Carter, who left the game with a hamstring injury late in the first quarter and did not return.

"Obviously we caught a break when he went out because they're not the same team without Vince Carter," Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said. "Our bench was huge. This was one of those nights when we needed everybody to play well, and they did."

Six Pacers scored in double figures, including Jones and fellow subs David Harrison (12 points) and Danny Granger (13 points). Jeff Foster grabbed 16 rebounds for Indiana, two off his season high.

Jones scored seven of the Pacers' nine points in a span of 2:30 in the fourth quarter after the Nets had whittled a 15-point third-quarter deficit down to five after Jason Kidd's 3-pointer and driving scoop shot.

With Indiana clinging to an 85-80 lead, Jones buried a 3-pointer, Anthony Johnson sank a jumper and Jones scored on consecutive driving layups to make it 92-80. The Nets never got closer than seven points after that.

"It started when we gave up 36 points in the second quarter," said Kidd, who narrowly missed his 72nd career triple-double with 19 points, 12 assists and eight rebounds. "We were playing uphill from that point. We got it down to five, and I thought I had a good look on a 3 that went in-and-out, and they came down and hit a 3 and the rest was academic."

Richard Jefferson led the Nets (31-24) with 23 points, but New Jersey looked lost at times in the first half without Carter. New Jersey had lost just once in its last 15 home games and had won six of its last seven overall.

Now, the Nets have to hope Carter's injury is not serious. It was described by the team as a sore hamstring that will be evaluated Monday. New Jersey plays at Atlanta on Monday night then travels to Minnesota for a game Wednesday.

"It just tightened up," Carter said. "When I went up, I just felt a grab and I didn't want it to tear. We're hoping it's just a cramp and I can play tomorrow."

The last time the Nets went on the road with Carter fighting a gimpy back, they went 0-4 on a West Coast swing in late January.

The Pacers are no strangers to injury woes and have been playing without Austin Croshere, Jamaal Tinsley and Jermaine O'Neal for most of the last month. That plus the spillover from the loss to lowly Atlanta made Sunday's win sweeter for Carlisle.

"This was really big because of the way the Atlanta game got away from us," he said. "This was a great response to a disappointing loss. You have to give the guys credit for being resilient." ^Notes:@ Nets C Nenad Krstic, who was 11-for-11 from the field Friday night against New York, missed his first three shots badly and finished with four points in 24 minutes. ... Nets F Clifford Robinson played in his 1,303rd career game, tying him with Elvin Hayes for ninth on the NBA's career list. He scored 11 points, giving him 19,190 for his career and passing Gail Goodrich for 36th place on the NBA's career list. ... Croshere (concussion) missed his 10th straight game and Tinsley (sore right elbow) missed his 12th straight for Indiana. The Pacers were also without O'Neal, who suffered a torn left groin on Jan. 24. ... James Gandolfini, star of HBO's "The Sopranos," took in the game from courtside seats next to the Nets bench.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Team Stat Comparison

Points 101 91
FGM-FGA 35-73 (.479) 35-81 (.432)
3PM-3PA 6-17 (.353) 4-14 (.286)
FTM-FTA 25-33 (.758) 17-20 (.850)
Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 11-47 7-33
Assists 21 29
Turnovers 15 9
Steals 6 9
Blocks 4 4
Fast Break Points 7 10
Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 21 (0/0) 21 (1/0)
Largest Lead 15 2

Top Performers

New Jersey
Peja Stojakovic Stojakovic
Points: 22
Reb: 5
Ast: 2
Stl: 1
Blk: 1
Jason Kidd Kidd
Points: 19
Reb: 8
Ast: 12
Stl: 2
Blk: 0