<
>

Indy withstands L.A.'s fourth-quarter rally

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Reggie Miller's most prolific scoring output
in nearly 4½ years carried the Indiana Pacers.

Miller scored a season-high 39 points, and the Pacers held off a
fourth-quarter rally to defeat the Los Angeles Lakers 103-97 Friday
night.

Miller made a 3-pointer with 59 seconds left to give the Pacers
a 95-90 lead, then made six straight free throws in the final 24.8
seconds to seal the victory.

His 39 points were the most he had since scoring 41 against
Milwaukee on Nov. 8, 2000.

"Hopefully, I won't always have nights like this, but right now
we're short-handed," said Miller, who will retire after this
season. "Stephen (Jackson) and myself recognize that we are going
to take the brunt of the scoring load each and every night, so we
both try to take an active role of getting into games early."

Miller, who shot 13-of-18 from the field and 3-of-5 from 3-point
range, had 14 points in the first quarter as the Pacers opened a
30-22 lead.

"We obviously don't want him to retire," said Jackson, who
finished with 19 points and five assists. "I think he's got at
least three years left in him."

The Lakers trailed by as many as 15 points in the second half
before a 13-5 run to start the fourth quarter made it 83-82 with
just over six minutes left. Indiana pushed the lead to 88-82 after
five straight points from Johnson, but Los Angeles scored eight of
the next 10 points to make it 90-90 with 1:47 left.

Johnson gave the Pacers a two-point lead with a jumper, and
Miller put the game away with a 3-pointer while falling into the
Lakers bench.

"When you can score your age in this league, it's not time to
quit," Lakers coach Frank Hamblen said of the 39-year-old Miller.
"If I were Reggie's agent, I'd try to sign him to a multiyear
contract."

Chucky Atkins had 23 points, Caron Butler added 19 points and 10
rebounds, and Kobe Bryant scored 12 points on 5-of-14 shooting for
the Lakers, who finished their six-game road trip with a 2-4
record.

Miller gave much of the credit for his recent scoring success to
teammates Jeff Foster and Dale Davis. Miller is averaging 23 points
over his last seven games, helping Indiana to a 5-2 record.

"We're setting great screens, and we're having a lot more
motion and a lot more movement," Miller said. "When you got
shooters and scorers coming off both sides, you've got to be able
to set good screens."

Davis was not surprised that Miller scored more points than he
had since 2000. Davis played with the Pacers from 1991-2000 before
re-signing with the club two weeks ago.

"He looks the same to me," said Davis, who had 16 rebounds and
three blocks. "He's the type of guy who doesn't mind putting a
team on his shoulders. When it's time for the big shot, he'll take
it."

The Lakers, who return home to play Seattle on Sunday, lost
forward Lamar Odom to a strained left shoulder. Odom hurt it in the
first half and reaggravated it in the third quarter before going to
the locker room. He did not return.

"If Lamar Odom is out for any period of time, everybody is
going to have to step up and do their best," Bryant said.

Game notes
Odom had nine points and three rebounds in 21 minutes
before leaving. ... The Lakers are 4-11 this season in the second
game of back-to-backs. They lost to Miami 102-89 on Thursday. ...
The Lakers are 12-16 against the Eastern Conference, including 3-12
on the road. ... Jermaine O'Neal missed his seventh straight game
after suffering a sprained right shoulder against Denver on March
3. The Pacers are 5-2 since the injury. ... Pacers center Scot
Pollard left the game in the second quarter with a sprained right
ankle. He did not return.