NBA Game Summary - Chicago at Indiana
(Wednesday, April 20th)
Final Score: Indiana 85, Chicago 83
Indianapolis, IN (Sports Network) - Indiana nailed down the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference Wednesday with an 85-83 victory over the Chicago Bulls at Conseco Fieldhouse. Jermaine O'Neal scored 21 points to lead the Pacers, who will open the playoffs at Boston on Saturday in a best-of-seven series.
Anthony Johnson added 20 points for the Pacers, including a pair of clutch three-pointers in the fourth quarter. Dale Davis grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds in the win.
Indiana's Reggie Miller, who is retiring, scored 12 points in his final regular season game. The future Hall-of-Famer, though, missed a jumper late in the game that would have sealed the win.
"I think I needed the rest because I hadn't slept for awhile and I needed the rest because I was worried about not thanking everybody," Miller said about the missed shot and having to speak about his retirement after the game.
Addressing the crowd after the game, Miller said, "I have been blessed to be a Pacer."
Jannero Pargo scored 17 points to lead the Bulls, but missed a jumper at the buzzer that would have sent the game into overtime. A loss by the Pacers would have given Philadelphia the sixth seed, dropping Indiana to seventh.
Chicago, which is headed to the postseason for the first time since 1998, is the fourth seed in the East and will host Washington Sunday to begin the opening round.
The Pacers trailed by four after three quarters, but began the final frame with 11 straight points to take a 71-64 lead. Indiana was 0-of-12 from three- point territory until Johnson buried a trey to give the Pacers a 74-66 lead with 5:41 remaining.
Two free throws by O'Neal with just over five minutes to play stretched the Pacers' lead to 76-67. The Bulls, though, would not quit.
Chicago scored 10 unanswered points and took a 77-76 lead when Lawrence Funderburke drove hard to the basket and banked in a short jumper. The Bulls would lead just one more time, 79-78, on a jumper by Pargo with 1:38 to go.
Johnson hit a jumper to give Indiana an 80-79 lead and then hit his second three-pointer of the game with 50 seconds remaining to increase the Pacers' lead to four.
With nine seconds left, Miller missed a three-pointer with the Pacers clinging to a two-point lead, but Davis grabbed the rebound. Two free throws by Stephen Jackson with three seconds left made it an 85-81 game and appeared to seal the win.
Jared Reiner, however, hit a jumper after a timeout and Eric Piatkowski deflected the inbounds pass by Johnson to Pargo, who missed a short jumper that would have tied the game as time expired.
"That was my chance," said Pargo. "As a player, some of us live for that kind of moment. I just appreciate that I was able to have the opportunity to take that shot. That's all I can ask for."
The Pacers, who trailed throughout most of the first half, stormed out of the break on a 15-2 run to erase a 10-point halftime deficit. O'Neal was fouled as he grabbed an offensive rebound and scored, before completing the three-point play with a free throw to cap the run and give the Pacers a 53-50 lead. It was Indiana's first advantage since a 6-5 edge 2 1/2 minutes into the contest.
The game would remain close throughout the third quarter and the Bulls moved ahead 64-60 heading into the final frame.
Down one early, Andres Nocioni hit a 20-foot jumper to give Chicago a 7-6 lead. The basket sparked a 21-8 burst that gave the Bulls a 26-14 advantage. The lead would remain 12 after one quarter.
Chicago's advantage grew to 14 in the second quarter when a 21-foot jumper by Pargo gave the Bulls a 32-18 advantage. The Bulls maintained a double-digit lead throughout most of the frame and led by 10, 48-38, at the break.
The Pacers shot just 14-of-40 from the field, including 0-of-7 from three- point range, in the opening half.
Colts quarterback Peyton Manning sat courtside...Indiana was just 2-of-14 from beyond the arc, with Johnson making the only two...The Bulls were 5-of-11 from beyond the arc...Indiana ended the regular season with a 44-38 record, while Chicago finished 47-35.
04/21 00:45:01 ET