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NBA

Pacers clamp down on Heat

By Wire services
Published May 9, 2004

INDIANAPOLIS - The Pacers are dominating the playoffs like no other team in history.

Reggie Miller had 19 points in 18 minutes Saturday night to lead Indiana to a 91-80 win over Miami.

The Pacers set a league record with their sixth consecutive double-digit playoff victory. The 1985 Lakers and '47 Philadelphia Warriors shared the mark.

Ron Artest had 20 points and five assists for the Pacers, who take a 2-0 series lead to Miami for Monday's Game 3.

And the Pacers don't think they've peaked.

"We can play much better," Miller said. "We're finding ways to win, which is encouraging, but we have to play better."

Miller got the Pacers rolling with a 3-pointer off one leg with Eddie Jones' hand in his face to beat the second-quarter buzzer and get the Pacers rolling. The 38-year-old Miller was 6-for-10 from the field with three 3-pointers.

"Reggie Miller just killed us," Heat coach Stan Van Gundy said. "He's done it before. We're not the first team he's done it to. It's not a coincidence when he makes big shots."

With 1.6 seconds to play in the half, Jones allowed Miller to catch a inbounds lob at the top of the key. Miller heaved a shot that swished at the buzzer for a 44-36 lead.

Lamar Odom led Miami with 19 points and 12 rebounds before fouling out with 4:05 to play.

WOLVES 94, KINGS 89: Sam Cassell had eight points in the final three minutes as host Minnesota, which trailed by 10 in the fourth quarter, came back to tie the West semifinal series at 1.

Sacramento started the fourth quarter with an 18-5 run to take an 88-78 lead with 4:11 left. Then Minnesota went on a 13-0 run punctuated by Kevin Garnett's two free throws with 1:45 left, which gave the Timberwolves the lead for good, and Cassell's jumper with 24.6 seconds left for a 91-88 lead.

Sacramento's Chris Webber was fouled on a layup on the ensuing possession but missed one of his two free throws. Cassell hit one of his two free throws with 17 seconds left and the Kings never got off a good shot.

Lakers' Payton lets loose

LOS ANGELES - An animated Gary Payton unleashed an emotional torrent, expressing frustration with teammates, coaches and the media.

The Lakers guard has taken the brunt of the blame for his team's 2-0 West series deficit heading into today's Game 3 against the Spurs.

Payton has had problems in this series matching up with Tony Parker. Parker has 50 points, 14 assists and two turnovers in the series; Payton has 11 points and four turnovers.

"You all can blame me for everything, I don't care," Payton told the media. "Whatever. Blame me. ... I can be the scapegoat. Put it on all five of us, then. Go ahead do what you want to do. It's Gary Payton vs. San Antonio."

Payton went on to say he hasn't gotten the needed help from teammates in defending Parker in pick-and-roll situations, and the Lakers haven't worked enough in that area.

[Last modified May 9, 2004, 01:41:11]


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