for this game

Shorthanded 76ers hand Pacers crucial setback

Apr 11, 2007 - 5:57 AM PHILADELPHIA (Ticker) -- The Indiana Pacers didn't have to deal with Andre Iguodala but it turned out that the Philadelphia 76ers had enough to win anyway.

Louis Williams scored a season-high 18 points and Samuel Dalembert, Joe Smith and Andre Miller each recorded a double-double as the 76ers posted a 90-86 victory, dealing a crushing blow to the Pacers' fading playoff hopes.

Indiana (34-43) was looking to match a season-high three-game winning streak but instead lost for the 19th time in 24 games and now look destined to miss the playoffs for the first time since 1997.

The Pacers fell two games behind the Orlando Magic (36-41) in the race for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference and they can chalk that up to a horrendous night from the field.

Indiana shot 33 percent (23-of-98), including 3-of-20 from the arc. Jermaine O'Neal scored 21 points and grabbed 20 rebounds while playing with a sore knee but was just 7-of-22 from the field and Danny Granger was 2-of-17 and scored only five points.

"We couldn't hit a bull in the (rear) with a bass fiddle and that was the story of the game," Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said. "We hung in there, we had a low turnover number which kept us in the game and we had a lot of good looks. They made their share of plays. We got to shake it off and get ready for tomorrow."

It appeared that Indiana would catch a break with Iguodala sitting out the game with a strained lower back. The 76ers also played without forward Kyle Korver (sprained wrist) and rookie forward Rodney Carney (sprained knee).

The Pacers came out surprisingly flat considering the importance of the game and trailed, 45-39, at the half and 69-58 entering the fourth quarter. They finally came to life with a 15-2 run to take an 80-78 lead with 3:44 to play on a basket by O'Neal.

"We struggled pretty much the whole game shooting the basketball," O'Neal said. "We got open looks and they didn't fall. We really didn't get the stops when we needed them tonight. Playing a team that isn't playing for anything and having a lot of their guys out, they played really freely.

"There isn't a word to describe it especially since I struggled on shots that I normally make. Being contested wasn't a factor since I'm always contested. Our ability not to make shots from the field put us in a bind tonight."

Miller tied the game with two free throws 20 seconds later and Smith gave the 76ers the lead for good, 83-82, with a layup with 2:05 to go.

"It was a good effort. Some guys came in and got a chance to prove themselves," Miller said. "It was a great team effort. We came down the stretch and made some solid plays and we got to the free-throw line. It made it extra fine that they were playing for a playoff spot and the guys came out."

Miller had 19 points and 11 assists, Smith had 17 points and 11 rebounds and Dalembert added 15 points and 12 boards for Philadelphia (32-45).

"It's always a tough game when you play the Pacers but when you go out shorthanded it makes it that much tougher," Smith said. "For the guys to be able to come in and step up the way they did, it show how much confidence that we have in each other."

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