Pacers Pound Magic

The frustration is over for 19-year-old Al Harrington, who spent most of his rookie season watching the Indiana Pacers play.

Harrington, who scored only 45 points in 21 games as a rookie coming out of high school last season, has opened his second season by coming off the bench to score in double figures in all five games this month.

He had 17 of his career-high 19 points in the fourth quarter to help Indiana top the Orlando Magic 116-101 Thursday night.

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  • "Al has a big heart. He worked as hard as he possibly could this summer to make himself a basketball player," Indiana coach Larry Bird said. "He shows that when he is on the court. ... He plays hard. That's what you've got to do in this league to win."

    Reggie Miller scored 21 points to lead a balanced Indiana offense that had six players in double figures. Jalen Rose and Travis Best contributed 17 points each.

    The Pacers broke open a close game in the second half, shooting 67 percent (20-of-30) from the field. For the game, Indiana shot a season-high 57 percent from the field.

    "Last year was frustrating. That's all I can say about that," Harrington said. "I learned a lot by me sitting and watching, it really helped me and it's showing now."

    Said Darrell Armstrong, who scored 22 points for Orlando: "He played well. He played hard. That's all you can ask for from a young guy. He made plays. He didn't make too many mistakes. I think he did a great job. I think he's the one who really turned the energy up for them."

    "That's my job, to come in and bring energy and play defense," sad Harrington, who was 6-of-8 from the field.

    The game was tied 10 times and there were eight lead changes before Indiana moved ahead to stay 62-60 on a hook shot by Rik Smits.

    The Pacers led by as many as nine points in the third quarter and took their first double-digit lead as Orlando went nearly three minutes without scoring to start the fourth quarter.

    A 3-pointer by Miller ignited a 14-3 run by Indiana to start the final period. Harrington had seven points in the run. Orlando's only points came on a 3-pointer by Chucky Atkins with 9:16 to play.

    With Harrington leading the way, the Pacers went on to lead 99-82 with 6:39 to play. Orlando, which had won three straight, never got back into contention and trailed by as many as 21.

    "He reminds me a lot of Bernard King because of the way he plays," Orlando coach Doc Rivers said of Harrington. "They're treating him like Bernard too, where they threw it to him on the wings and he would attack. Obviously he's not as polished as Bernard. If he can improve as much as he did from last year, he'll be an All-Star soon."

    The Pacers shot 9-of-17 shots from 3-point range.


  • Orlando's Matt Harpring will have surgery Monday to repair a torn tendon in his left ankle.
  • The Magic played their third back-to-game games of the season. They're 3-3 in the games.
  • Tariq Abdul-Wahad failed to score in double figures for the first time in six games.
  • Orlando had 20 turnovers, leading to 29 Indiana points.
  • Six Pacers had at least one block, while the Magic had only two as a team.
  • Indiana got 58 points from its reserves as Orlando's bench was outscored for the first time this season.

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