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INDIANAPOLIS Pacers pummel sluggish Cavaliers



Published: Sat, February 26, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



LeBron James shot just 9 of 25 from the field to finish with 21 points.

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- The Indiana Pacers were one of the few teams not to make a trade before Thursday's deadline. That suited coach Rick Carlisle just fine.

Over the past three weeks, the Pacers have proved they can win with their current roster -- even without the suspended Ron Artest.

Indiana won a season-high fifth straight game Friday night, beating the Cleveland Cavaliers 106-82. Starting point guard Jamaal Tinsley missed the game with a bruised foot and center Jeff Foster sat with back spasms, but that still didn't stop the Pacers from winning for the eighth time in their last 10 games.

"If there was a trade that would have helped us, we would have made it," Carlisle said. "Coming into the deadline, we had won seven out of nine, so there was no need to panic.

Leaders

Stephen Jackson led Indiana with 28 points, including the team's last 11 in the fourth quarter. Jermaine O'Neal added 20 points, eight rebounds and five assists for Indiana, which shot 52 percent.

LeBron James had a tough night from the field, scoring 21 points on 9-of-25 shooting. Zydrunas Ilgauskas added 20 points, 15 rebounds and four blocks for Cleveland, which shot 36 percent and committed 15 turnovers.

Indiana took control of the game in the second quarter, thanks in part to its reserves. Eddie Gill started a 12-0 run with a 3-pointer, helping the Pacers open a 47-33 lead.

Indiana's bench outscored the Cavaliers by themselves in the second quarter, 20-14. For the game, the Pacers' reserves held a 37-18 advantage over Cleveland's bench.

Cleveland cut the deficit to 52-39 with 1:24 left in the second quarter, but the Pacers scored six of the final eight points of the half to take a 58-41 lead.

Indiana didn't let up in the third quarter, quickly extending its lead to 66-45 after O'Neal's basket. Cleveland gradually chipped away, getting within 76-61 after a three-point play by James with less than a minute left in the period.

The Cavaliers added two more baskets to start the fourth to trail 78-65, but that was as close as they would get. Jackson sealed the victory, scoring all 11 Pacers points in the last 4:39.




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