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Pacers too short-handed to keep up

Associated Press
Published November 11, 2004

INDIANAPOLIS - All the injuries and Ron Artest's benching finally caught up with Indiana.

Elton Brand had 19 points and 16 rebounds, and the Los Angeles Clippers took control of the lethargic Pacers from the start in a 102-68 victory Wednesday night, Indiana's worst home loss in franchise history.

The Clippers outscored the Pacers 31-7 in the second, holding Indiana to a franchise low for points in a quarter.

Artest was serving the second of a two-game benching imposed by coach Rick Carlisle because he "compromised the integrity of the team."

The forward said Wednesday he asked Carlisle for time off because of a busy schedule that included promoting a soon-to-be released rap album.

"I've been doing a little bit too much music, just needed the rest," Artest said. "I've still got my album coming out Nov. 23. After the album comes out I'm going to make sure all of my time is focused on winning a championship."

When asked if he thought the punishment fit the crime, Artest said, "There was no crime done. I think it helped out. I was tired.

Artest's benching left Indiana with only nine available players. Center Scot Pollard missed the game with a sore lower back and Jonathan Bender, who was expected to return after missing three games with a sore left knee, came down with a viral infection.

CAVS 114, SUNS 109 (OT): Center Zydrunas Ilgauskas hit three long jumpers, including a tying 3-pointer at the end of regulation, and host Cleveland handed Phoenix its first loss.

GRIZZLIES 110, LAKERS 87: Pau Gasol scored 22 and Shane Battier added 18 as host Memphis won for the first time this season. Kobe Bryant had 20 points but shot 4-of-19 for Los Angeles, which shot 37 percent.

CELTICS 90, BLAZERS 88: Paul Pierce returned from taking a hit in the mouth in the final minute to make a 17-foot fallaway jumper as time expired for host Boston. Gary Payton scored 15 for the Celtics and became the 29th player to reach 20,000 points.

76ERS 108, NETS 100 (OT): Allen Iverson hit the tying jumper with 7.2 seconds left in regulation and Corliss Williamson scored seven of his 15 in overtime as host Philadelphia snapped a three-game losing streak.

BUCKS 102, BOBCATS 100: Desmond Mason scored 31, including three free throws in the final minute, and Michael Redd added 26 for host Milwaukee.

SPURS 91, WARRIORS 71: Tim Duncan had 23 points and 18 rebounds and Manu Ginobili added 22 points to lead host San Antonio.

RAPTORS 104, JAZZ 95: Chris Bosh scored 20 and Rafer Alston hit a key 3-pointer down the stretch to lead visiting Toronto.

Around the league

McGRADY AILING: Tracy McGrady missed most of the Rockets' practice because of nagging hip and groin injuries, though the former Magic star and two-time NBA scoring champ might play tonight against Minnesota.

LABOR TALKS: Players' union executive director Billy Hunter said he "isn't inclined" to grant the owners' request to shorten the length of contracts. Last month, commissioner David Stern said owners want to trim guaranteed contracts to four years from seven.

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