If losing Keith Van Horn to an ankle injury wasn't bad enough, the New Jersey Nets also suffered the embarrassment of being beaten by the Indiana Pacers' bench.
Teen-ager Al Harrington matched his output for the season by scoring eight points and the Pacers' bench outscored their New Jersey counterparts 45-11 in leading Indiana to a 100-91 victory over the Nets on Friday night.
"It felt great to be out there, I have been waiting for this for a long time," said Harrington, the Pacers' first round draft pick who bypassed a college career to jump to the NBA. "Everything just seemed to fall into place tonight."
For the Nets, it was just another bad night in a season which has now seen them lose 22 of 27 games. The Van Horn injury just made it worse.
He was hurt early in the third quarter and returned later in the period after having his right ankle retaped. However, he left the game with seven minutes left in the game after he felt it give out again.
"It the same tendon but I didn't feel the pop like last year," Van Horn said in reference to an ankle injury that sidelined him 17 games. "Last year I felt it pop out, this year it's more a strain."
Van Horn, who had a career high six blocked shots, He said he will come in for treatment on Saturday morning, but was uncertain whether he'd play against Cleveland later in the day.
Rik Smits had 20 points and Reggie Miller 16 to lead the Pacers, but Harrington and his buddies off the bench were the difference.
"The bench has been important to us all season," Pacers coach Larry Bird said. "When the starters have struggled the bench has come through. We're blessed to have a deep bench."
Stephon Marbury led the Nets with 24 points and eight assists while Van Horn added 22, only four after the injury.
The Pacers took the lead for ood midway through the second quarter but didn't put the Nets away until the fourth when the reserves sparked a 12-4 burst.
Harrington, who played in high school at nearby St. Patrick's of Elizabeth, had six in the run that gave Indiana an 86-74 lead with 7:17 to play. Backup point guard Travis Best added four and Jalen Rose had the other two.
Prior to Friday night, Harrington, Indiana's first-round draft pick, had appeared in seven of the Pacers' 26 games, scoring eight points in 35 minutes. He had eight on 3 of 8 shooting in a career-high 17 minutes against New Jersey. It marked the second straight game he has gotten double figures in minutes.
"I didn't give him those minutes, he earned them," Bird said of Harrington. "I left him in the fourth quarter because of his defensive ability. He's a very talented player who is going to be able to help us. All he needs now is more minutes."
The Nets did make a late run, drawing within 94-89 on a 3-pointer by Marbury with 1:34 to play. However, Antonio Davis, who led the Pacers' bench with 13 points, scored on a dunk and Rose capped his 10-point night with two free throws to ice the game.
Kerry Kittles added 15 points and 10 rebounds for New Jersey while Jayson Williams had 16 rebounds and seven points. Notes: Kendall Gill, who has struggled in recent weeks, asked Nets interim coach Don Casey to take him out of the starting lineup in hopes of waking up the team. ... Free agent Chris Carr started at small forward and had 12 points in 33 minutes. Gill played 20 minutes and had four points. ... Jayson Williams, who was 2 of 8 from the free-throw line against the Pistons on Wednesday, shot 700 free throws at practice Thursday. He was 1 for 1 on Friday. ... Harrington also got his first technical for throwing an elbow at Carr while boxing out on a second quarter rebound...The Nets entered the game as the NBA's worst shooting team at .386 and they didn't even hit that, making 35 of 98, or 35.7 percent.
©1999 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed