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Pacers put an end to 76ers' fast start

Nov 8, 2006 - 2:50 AM INDIANAPOLIS (Ticker) -- Rawle Marshall gave the Indiana Pacers a much-needed spark and played a big role in handing the Philadelphia 76ers their first loss of the season.

Marshall did not miss a shot and the Pacers had six players reach double figures en route to posting an easy 97-86 victory over the 76ers.

Philadelphia entered the game with a surprising 3-0 record, its best start since the 2000-01 edition won its first 10 games on the way to an appearance in the NBA Finals.

The 76ers started strong but were ultimately no match for the balanced Pacers. Allen Iverson hit 5-of-10 shots and had 10 points in the first quarter as the 76ers opened a 23-20 lead.

However, the Pacers then took over, outscoring the 76ers, 60-32, over the next two quarters to open an 80-55 advantage.

"We were on our heels the whole night," Philadelphia coach Maurice Cheeks said. "We played a nice first quarter, but after the second quarter, we were on our heels. They started collapsing guys on (Iverson) and we could never get anybody else to get started."

Marshall scored eight points in the second quarter as the Pacers turned the three-point deficit into a 51-36 lead at the half. Indiana put away the game by outscoring Philadelphia, 29-19, in the third quarter to open its biggest lead of the game.

Marshall had played less than five minutes combined and taken just one shot in Indiana's first three games but shined in just under 25 minutes against Philadelphia. He was 5-of-5 from the field and made all six free throws to finish with 16 points.

"I try to stay ready to play because you never know when you will be called on," Marshall said. "This was a great game and I'm beginning to feel comfortable."

Jermaine O'Neal scored 16 and added 11 rebounds and four blocks for the Pacers, who also got double-digit scoring games from Danny Granger (14), Al Harrington (14) Jamaal Tinsley (11) and Stephen Jackson (10).

Iverson finished with 20 points but shot just 8-of-22 from the field. Andre Iguodala scored 10 and was the only other Sixers starter in double figures. Kyle Korver and Willie Green each scored 14 points off the bench for Philadelphia.

"The defensive energy we had tonight was the best we've had all year and we needed it against these guys," Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said. "I thought Stephen Jackson played a spectacular defensive game moving his legs on Allen Iverson and Kyle Korver."

Indiana held a 52-32 advantage on the boards and turned 19 offensive rebounds in to 15 second-chance points. The Pacers had six offensive rebounds in the second quarter when they outscored the 76ers. 31-13.

"They just did a better job of out-hustling and out-working us," Iguodala said. "They had better position and aggressiveness on the boards. Rebounding is just about going and getting it and they had more aggression than us on the boards."

"We're a team that likes to get out and run and we can't do that when we don't rebound," Iverson said. "We can't win basketball games if we don't rebound. You can't teach it, it's the same as hustle. You have to want it more than the other team."

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