Cool Pacers brush off Philadelphia


Tue, Nov 11, 2003 - Page 20

Ron Artest controlled his temper after losing a tooth following a hard collision with Derrick Coleman, and then coolly sank a pair a free throws.

One of the NBA's most excitable players is behaving himself these days, and the Indiana Pacers are reaping the benefits.

"Tonight is an indication of the new and improved Ron," teammate Reggie Miller said.

Artest scored 30 points and had 10 rebounds to lead the Pacers to their fifth straight win, an 85-74 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday night.

"I'm just having fun," Artest said.

Artest led the league in flagrant-foul points last season and missed 12 games because of suspensions. This year, Artest has had no flagrants or technicals called on him -- so far.

"A couple of things were blown out of proportion," Artest said. "I'm just here to play basketball."

The Pacers are 4-0 in road games this season, their best start in the NBA. The 1971-72 Pacers started that ABA season 7-0 away from home.

Late in the fourth, Artest drove down the baseline from the left side with his left arm fully extended when Coleman collided with him under the basket.

Artest crashed to the floor, holding his face and was down for a few minutes. He lost a tooth and had a swollen lip but instead of retaliating against Coleman, Artest made two free throws for a 71-66 lead.

"I think last year's Ron would have probably took out a couple of fans in the front row," Miller said.

Later, he hit another 3-pointer for an 80-70 lead and the Pacers cruised from there.

Pistons 98, Nets 84

At Auburn Hills, Michigan, Richard Hamilton scored 24 points, Corliss Williamson added 20 off the bench and Detroit beat New Jersey for its fifth straight win.

It was the first meeting between the teams since New Jersey's sweep in the Eastern Conference finals last season.

Ben Wallace had 12 points and 11 rebounds for Detroit, which improved to 5-1.

Jason Kidd led the Nets with 18 points and 11 assists.

Hawks 91, SuperSonics 81

At Seattle, Jason Terry scored 23 points and Atlanta sent the SuperSonics to their first loss of the season.

Stephen Jackson had 15 points, Shareef Abdur-Rahim added 14 points and 11 rebounds, and Dion Glover scored 13 points for Atlanta.

It was Atlanta's first road win of the season after losing its first four games away from home.

Seattle (3-1) was the league's last unbeaten team. Ronald Murray scored 24 points in his fourth start in place of the injured Ray Allen.

In other NBA games: Celtics 91, Kings 82; Raptors 89 Nuggets 76