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TheSauceMaster
04-05-2004, 03:50 AM
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- The strategy of limiting Jermaine O'Neal's playing time to rest his sore knee will be discarded like Sunday's box score, if O'Neal has his way.

The Indiana Pacers forward declared his intention to play his normal minutes following a 79-61 loss to Detroit at The Palace of Auburn Hills, in hopes of regaining his shooting rhythm.

O'Neal had played 24 minutes in Wednesday's game with Milwaukee, and 18 against Toronto on Friday. He felt that was a factor against the Pistons, when he hit just 4-of-15 shots and 1-of-6 free throws in 37 minutes.

"I want to get healthy, but I don't want to play like this going into the playoffs," O'Neal said. "That's the biggest thing. I'm going to have to rest on practice days and play on game days. That's just the way it's going to be. I'm going to play 36, 37 minutes to finish this season and hopefully I can get my rhythm back."

O'Neal, relying mostly on mid-range jumpers, hit two of his first three shots from the field. He then missed nine in a row before getting an easy rebound basket midway through the third period. His only other field goal came on a 12-foot jumper with 8:32 left.

"I hurt my team a lot (Sunday)," he said. "If I shoot better, we win.

"I'm going to put the loss on my back, because I didn't give us any lift. I have to be able to do that if I'm going to play in the games."

Artest chooses solitude

Ron Artest's frustration throughout the game was obvious. Afterward, he decided not to share it with media members, exiting the Pacers locker room before reporters were allowed in.

Artest picked up two fouls in the first 41/2 minutes, one on a needless bump on the perimeter and another on a rebound that he disputed.

He was pulled from the game and didn't return until early in the second quarter. Three minutes later, however, he was called for a charging foul when Darvin Ham appeared to flop, and had to leave again.

He played just six minutes in the first half, and 24 overall. He spent much of his time on the bench cheering on his teammates.

He scored eight of his team-high 16 points in the third quarter, but angrily approached coach Rick Carlisle midway through the fourth quarter after he had attempted just one shot. He was caught out of position while doing so, and had to commit a foul to stop the play.

Artest also picked up a technical foul in the fourth period, his fourth of the season excluding the one from the game at Sacramento that was rescinded.

"I was frustrated and the players were frustrated, too," Carlisle said. "Detroit makes it hard on you, but we were getting open shots and not making them.

"Those things happen. Right now we've got to get the wheels back on the wagon and get ready for Tuesday (against New York)."

Anderson felt the pressure

Kenny Anderson was so nervous at the end of Georgia Tech's NCAA tourney win over Oklahoma State on Saturday that he couldn't stand to watch.

So he left his hotel room and headed down to the lobby, missing the final five minutes.

"I ain't going to lie," he said before Sunday's game against the Pistons. "I was a little nervous."

Anderson, who played two seasons at Tech before entering the NBA draft, saw the highlights of its two-point win later.

He's fully confident his former school will beat Connecticut for the championship tonight.

"Oh, yeah, no doubt," he said. "They've opened the floodgates. They're playing with a lot of confidence."

http://www.indystar.com/articles/9/135258-1649-039.html