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Jasikevicius, Armstrong spark Pacers past Knicks

Nov 5, 2006 - 3:30 AM NEW YORK (Ticker) -- There was no backing down from the backup backcourt of the Indiana Pacers.

Sarunas Jasikevicius and Darrell Armstrong sparked a huge fourth quarter as the Pacers won another road game with a 109-95 victory over the New York Knicks.

Al Harrington snapped out of a slump with 32 points for the Pacers (2-1), who also spoiled a somewhat emotional evening for Knicks coach Isiah Thomas. The coach of Indiana from 2000-03, Thomas spoke fondly of his days in Indiana before the game.

The Pacers allowed a 13-point third-quarter lead to dwindle to 77-76 entering the final period. The Knicks opened with possession and had a chance to take their first lead, but Armstrong - acquired in an offseason trade - deflected a pass and streaked in for a layup.

"He's been great for us off the bench so far," Jasikevicius said. "He's been great for us in the locker room so it's a great addition, no question."

"Darrell made some great defensive plays and a couple of timely steals and finishes," Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said.

That started a 9-0 spurt that featured five points by Jasikevicius and rebuilt the margin to 86-76 with 8:44 to go.

"We came back, got our composure, made some buckets and they got frustrated in the end," Armstrong said. "They started getting ticked and next thing you know, we had a 12-15 point lead."

The Knicks got no closer than eight points thereafter as Armstrong and Jasikevicius played virtually the rest of the way, spelling starters Jamaal Tinsley and Stephen Jackson and controlling the flow of the game.

"The second-unit guys were going good," Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said. "Our first-unit guys were over there cheering them and encouraging them and saying to everybody, 'Hey, let them go, let them go.' It was the right thing to do. Those guys held it together when we were going through a tough stretch, made plays at both ends."

"They were over there cheering and we see it. That's good," Armstrong said. "That just helped us out big time."

Jasikevicius scored 16 points and Armstrong added 13. They combined for 21 points in the final period, with Jasikevicius scoring 14.

"I think me and Darrell played sort of draw-and-kick kind of basketball," Jasikevicius said. "I think we both like to penetrate, kick it to a another guard for an open shot and kick it to our wings for open shots. I think that's the right way to play basketball."

"Them two guys, I know it's only three games in, but they have been huge," Harrington said. "They have been really carrying us."

Sporting a mohawk haircut with a headband, Harrington made 14-of-24 shots and grabbed seven rebounds. He had made just 4-of-19 shots in Indiana's first two games.

"Finally, teammates were finding me wide open," said Harrington, who hails from nearby Jersey City, New Jersey. "But I think the biggest thing to us winning the game tonight was defensively. We came out with energy. We didn't dig ourselves a hole like we did the last two games."

Jermaine O'Neal scored 17 points and Tinsley handed out 14 assists for the Pacers, who shot 52 percent (46-of-88) and bounced back from a home loss to New Orleans. Jackson scored 10 points.

Steve Francis scored 25 points and Eddy Curry added 22 for the Knicks, who shot 43 percent (34-of-79). Point guard Stephon Marbury made just 1-of-9 shots and committed six turnovers, hearing boos from the Madison Square Garden crowd.

"I'm not surprised about the crowd's boos. They came to see us win," Marbury said. "Of course they are going to get on me because I didn't have my best game tonight. I was just frustrated with myself tonight because I know the team expects a lot from me."

"He was pressing a little bit and trying to make some things happen," Thomas said. "I was encouraging him to press. I wanted to get him involved in the game. I wanted him to have the game that I know he's capable of having."

Armstrong's 3-pointer triggered an 11-4 spurt that gave Indiana a 39-26 lead in the second period. New York closed the quarter with a 9-2 spurt to pull within 45-40 at halftime.

"Every time we made a run, we just didn't have enough energy to complete it and get over the hump," Thomas said.

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