Pacers hold off 76ers as Rose blooms again

Posted: Tuesday, May 09, 2000

INDIANAPOLIS -- Game 1 was all Jalen Rose and Reggie Miller with 40 points each. Austin Croshere got a piece of the scoring for the Indiana Pacers in Game 2 against the Philadelphia 76ers.

Rose scored 30 points and Croshere added a career playoff-high 20 as the Pacers, despite not making a field goal over the final seven minutes, beat Philadelphia 103-97 Monday night to take a 2-0 lead in the Eastern Conference semifinals.

''I didn't feel that I carried my weight in the first round. There was a little bit of nervousness in that first series,'' said Croshere, who saw only one minute of playoff action in his first two seasons. ''The key for me wasn't 'I've got to come out and score' but to play hard and be aggressive.''

The Pacers scored their final 10 points on free throws, starting with two by Rose that put Indiana ahead 95-73 with 5:53 to play.

The 76ers rallied with a 33-14 run in the fourth quarter, including scoring 17 straight points.

The best-of-seven series shifts to Philadelphia for Game 3 on Wednesday and Game 4 on Saturday. Only seven teams in NBA history have rallied from a 2-0 deficit to win a series.

''Squarely, the pressure is now on Philadelphia. We can play a little bit more freer, a little bit more loose,'' said Miller, who had 19 points.

Allen Iverson led the 76ers with 28 points, but was only 9-for-25 from the field. He had 10 assists.

The 76ers also found out that starting guard Eric Snow, who missed the final two games of the opening series against Charlotte because of a fracture in his right ankle, will not be able to play the rest of the season because of the injury.

Philadelphia, which trailed by as many as 26 points in the third quarter, got within 95-88 when Iverson made two free throws with 2:44 remaining.

Two free throws by Rose made it 97-88 with 1:15 to play. Tyrone Hill's layup made it 97-90, but he missed two free throws with 37 seconds to go. A free throw by Croshere gave Indiana a 98-90 lead and a 3-pointer by Toni Kukoc made it 98-93.

Rose then made one free throw with 18 seconds to go. After a basket by Iverson, Miller made two free throws for Indiana with 12 remaining and Rose sealed the victory by making two more with 4.3 seconds to go.

Indiana, which pulled away as it shot 55 percent in the first half, also got 14 points on 7-of-9 shooting from center Rik Smits.

Croshere was 4-for-4 from 3-point range.

''He had a fantastic overall game,'' Miller said of Croshere, who sprained his right ankle in the fourth quarter but was able to return to the game.

''Croshere and (Derrick) McKey, their contributions were phenomenal,'' Philadelphia coach Larry Brown said. ''They (Indiana) were the aggressor on both ends of the court. ... They got every loose ball. They executed.''

Mark Jackson scored seven points but had 14 assists and also did much of the defensive work against Iverson.

''He's a phenomenal basketball player. He can score against anybody, believe me,'' Jackson said of Iverson. ''We collectively tried to contain him. We want to make him work for everything he gets.''

Hill added 15 points for Philadelphia.

The 76ers went over six minutes without a field goal in the second quarter. A jumper by Aaron McKie brought the 76ers within 42-33 with 6:47 left in the half. The 76ers, who shot 22 percent in the second quarter, didn't get another field goal until Matt Geiger's dunk in the final second of the half.

Indiana led 55-40 at halftime.

Indiana, which swept the 76ers in the semifinals last year, came out hot for the second consecutive game. The Pacers, who never trailed, made 11 of their first 15 shots.

''When we start like that, it takes us to another level. It takes us from being a dangerous basketball team to being an awfully dangerous basketball team,'' said Jackson, who had eight assists in the first period.

Indiana led 31-26 after one quarter and scored eight straight in the first two minutes of the second quarter. All of the baskets came up layups.

The 76ers, who were 4-for-19 from the field in the quarter, missed their first six field goals in the period and later missed eight consecutive shots as Indiana took its biggest lead of the half, 53-35 with 2:10 remaining.

The 76ers fell behind by 26 when Croshere hit a 3-pointer with 4:08 left in the third quarter. Indiana shot 55 percent (12-of-22) in the quarter and led 84-63 going into the fourth quarter.

The Pacers began the final period with four reserves on the court and the 76ers capitalized. Indiana returned its starters, but went only 3-of-14 from the field in the quarter.

Notes: Miller, who scored 16 points in the first quarter of Game 1, had 11 points in the opening quarter Monday. ... The Pacers extended their streak of sellouts at Conseco Fieldhouse to 46. ... Indiana made eight 3-pointers and is 19-for-42 from behind the arc in the series. ... Croshere's previous high in the playoffs was 16 in the opening round against Milwaukee. ... Rose played 46 minutes and Iverson played 45.



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