INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- After a season filled with turmoil and
injuries, the Indiana Pacers finally are at full strength.
Stephen Jackson, Peja Stojakovic, Jamaal Tinsley and Jermaine
O'Neal started together for the first time this season, and they
all played major roles in Indiana's 92-79 win over Philadelphia on
Jackson scored 23 points, Stojakovic added 18, Tinsley finished
with a season-high 14 assists and O'Neal added 11 points and nine
rebounds. It's a group Indiana had been hoping to get on the floor
since Stojakovic joined the team two months ago in the trade that
sent Ron Artest to Sacramento.
Tinsley and O'Neal started for the first time in two months
after injuries. Jackson, who benefited most from the upgraded
lineup, said more games like Sunday's should follow.
"It's hard to double-team us," Jackson said. "Before Peja
came and J.O. came back, I was getting double-teamed. I never
thought I'd get double-teamed in my life. But with them out there,
it's easier to beat my man."
Reserve Danny Granger had 17 points and 12 rebounds and Jeff
Foster grabbed 14 rebounds to help the Pacers recover from Friday
night's 75-72 loss to the Detroit Pistons. Philadelphia lost its
Allen Iverson scored 26 points and Chris Webber added 24 for the
76ers, but no other Philadelphia player scored more than eight.
Iverson, the league's second-leading scorer, shot 2-for-12 from the
field in the second half.
Iverson said the effort was pathetic for a team that is fighting
to get into the playoffs.
"There's no way to explain it," he said. "We got beat up
today. We are not stopping anybody. It's hard to get into a running
game or get easy baskets when you are always taking the ball out of
bounds after the other team scores."
Tinsley, who guarded Iverson for much of the game, wasn't as
worried about starting as he was about getting on the floor. He has
played in only 34 of the Pacers' 68 games because of right elbow
and biceps injuries.
"I'm just happy to be out there," he said. "I've had two
tough injuries, but that's the nature of the business. I'm just
glad to have the opportunity to play. I just go out there and do
Indiana held Philadelphia to 37 percent shooting and
outrebounded the 76ers 48-36 in a sloppy game that featured a
combined 45 turnovers. The Pacers set a season high with 29
The Pacers shot 50 percent in the first half to offset their 15
turnovers and take a 52-45 lead at the break. Granger scored 15
points and Foster grabbed 12 rebounds in the first half.
The Pacers opened the second half with a 6-0 run that gave them
a 58-45 lead and forced a Philadelphia timeout. The Pacers extended
their lead to 76-57 at the end of the quarter by holding the 76ers
to 5-for-19 shooting in the period.
"They just came down and executed," Webber said. "They did
whatever they wanted to and controlled the pace."
With all its major pieces in place, Indiana now is focused on
its preseason goal of winning an NBA title.
"Our goal hasn't changed," Jackson said. "Once everybody got
healthy and we got everybody on the same page, the sky's the
Stojakovic averaged 11.5 points in his first two games
after O'Neal returned. He averaged 19.7 points in 23 games before
O'Neal came back. ... Indiana point guard Anthony Johnson came off
the bench after starting 13 games in a row. ... This was the first
time in this season's series that a team won on its home court.
Philadelphia won 111-109 on Dec. 5 in Indianapolis and Indiana won
94-93 on March 5 in Philadelphia. ... Philadelphia barely avoided
its season low of 76 points.