With his Indiana Pacers clinging to a three-point lead, Reggie Miller hit a 3-pointer and a baseline jumper. Then, just for effect, he glared at Larry Brown.
"Just a look, just a look," Miller said of his encounter with Brown, who left Indiana to coach the Philadelphia 76ers this year.
Miller put on a show for Brown, scoring 19 of his 25 points in the second half as the Pacers beat the 76ers 97-92 Sunday to move within two games of first-place Chicago in the Central Division.
"I couldn't play this game if I couldn't talk, couldn't look," Miller said. "I need that verbal warfare to get me going, especially on the road because I'm the guy they usually pick on, I'm usually always the target. I thrive on it."
In a physical game, the Pacers beat the Sixers for the second time in four days and for the ninth time in a row.
Chris Mullin added 15, Rik Smits 18 and Dale Davis 10 points and eight rebounds. Mark Jackson had 13 assists to go with his seven points.
"I thought we played so-so, but we played well enough down the stretch," Pacers coach Larry Bird said. "I want to stay as close to Chicago as possible and ahead of Miami, so this game was really important to us."
Allen Iverson, coming off a 27-point night in Philadelphia's win over New Jersey on Saturday, scored 23 of his 33 points in the second half. Derrick Coleman had 20 and 11 rebounds as the Sixers lost for the 11th time in 14 games.
Miller scored half of Indiana's 24 third-quarter points as the Pacers took a 75-67 lead. The Pacers extended the lead to 13 quickly in the fourth quarter on Miller's jumper, a 3-pointer by Jalen Rose and two free throws by Antonio Davis.
The Sixers, who shot 64 percent in the fourth, rallied with a 16-6 run. Coleman scored six of the first eight on a jumper, a dunk and two free throws. Iverson's jumper, Thomas' 3-pointer and Iverson's drive cut the lead to 88-85.
But minutes later, Antonio Davis blocked a shot, Iverson lost the ball and the Pacers grabbed two offensive rebounds before Miller hit his 3-pointer and jumper to make it 95-86.
"I think he did that the last time we played here," Brown said of Miller's shots. "We didn't cause any turnovers. Their guards had what, 17 assists and three turnovers?"
Miller and Jackson actually combined for five turnovers to Iverson's two, but the last one by Iverson really hurt.
"I made a real, real bad turnover," he said. "I just came down and lost my hands on the ball. That really hurt us. We had momentum."
The Pacers had lost three of their last five, including a pair against .500-and-below teams Orlando and Dallas last week.
The Pacers shot 63 percent in the second quarter and took a 51-44 lead at halftime.
Notes: Brian Shaw, traded to the Sixers by Golden State last week, will join the team Monday in Phoenix. ... Indiana is one of two teams in the top six in field goal, free throw and 3-poinshooting percentage. The other is Milwaukee. ... The Pacers were outrebounded 47-36 in their past four games before Sunday, but held a 41-32 edge against Philadelphia. ... Iverson has shot 86 for 153 in the past nine games.
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