INDIANAPOLIS -- Indiana fans finally saw what they've been expecting from Al Harrington.
Sure, they remembered his six-year stay with the Pacers, but they were waiting for even more after he matured in two seasons in Atlanta. The Pacers picked him up him this summer after much haggling, but he averaged just nine points in his first two home games.
He made the wait worthwhile by tying a season high with 32 points in a 93-83 victory over the Orlando Magic on Friday night. Indiana coach Rick Carlisle said it was important for the fans to reconnect with Harrington.
"It is great for him to have an opportunity to have a game like this so that he can feel the love," Carlisle said. "We couldn't have won without him tonight."
Harrington viewed it as just another game and saw the win as more important than his statistics.
"If we put a product out there where we're successful and winning, we're going to win our fans back and get them back in here," he said. "That's my goal through my play. I just want to help bring that excitement back to Indianapolis."
Dwight Howard had 17 points and 14 rebounds for Orlando. O'Neal was impressed with the young center's development.
"If he ever really ever defines his offensive game, he's going to be a monster for years to come," O'Neal said. "He's not even 21 yet, so it is going to be scary to see him when he's 22, 23 years old ... I'm a fan of his. I like what he's doing."
Indiana made 27 of 32 free throws, while Orlando was 16-of-28. Orlando entered the game leading the league with a .514 field-goal percentage and had four players in the league's top 13, but the Pacers held the Magic to 44 percent shooting.
Harrington shot 13-for-23 from the field while the rest of the Pacers shot 18-for-56. Indiana (4-2) bounced back from a 117-91 loss at Washington on Wednesday.
Orlando (3-3) led 57-52 early in the third quarter before Harrington's alley-oop dunk on a pass from Stephen Jackson cut Orlando's lead to 57-56. Jamaal Tinsley followed that with a 3-pointer that gave the Pacers a brief 59-57 lead.
The Pacers closed the third quarter on an 11-2 run -- Harrington scored eight points -- to take a 70-63 lead into the fourth. Nelson's 10-point third quarter kept the Magic within range.
Harrington scored eight points in the fourth quarter to help keep the Magic at bay.
Hedo Turkoglu scored 10 points in the first quarter as Orlando took a 32-27 lead at the end of the period. Harrington scored 12 points in the quarter to keep the Pacers close. Orlando shot 67 percent from the field in the opening quarter but missed five of 11 free-throw attempts.
Indiana took a 41-39 lead on a basket by Jeff Foster with 6:39 left in the second quarter, but Hill scored eight straight points to give Orlando a 47-41 lead and force an Indiana timeout. Orlando held on to take a 50-47 halftime lead.
Orlando was disappointed in its second-half effort. The Magic had 12 of their 21 turnovers after the break.
"It seemed like the Pacers were the team that was valuing the ball more and creating turnovers on defense," Hill said. "That allowed them to get out in transition, get some easy baskets, and that's the story of the game."
|Al Harrington has an excellent shooting night, going 13-of-23 from the field, and 6-of-7 from the line. (AP)|
|Indiana (4-2) «||27||20||23||23||93|
|ORL:J. Nelson 19 Pts
ORL:D. Howard 14 Reb
ORL:J. Nelson 6 Ast
|IND:A. Harrington 32 Pts
IND:J. O'Neal 11 Reb
IND:S. Jackson 6 Ast
|Players of the Game|
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|D. Howard, PF||42||7-12||3-7||14||1||4||17|
|H. Turkoglu, SG||34||4-9||2-3||2||1||4||12|
|G. Hill, SF||33||6-15||4-4||4||1||2||17|
|J. Nelson, PG||33||8-11||3-4||1||6||3||19|
|T. Battie, C||32||1-4||1-2||9||1||3||3|
|D. Milicic, PF||19||2-6||1-2||2||1||1||5|
|K. Dooling, PG||16||1-7||0-0||0||0||3||2|
|T. Ariza, SF||15||0-2||1-4||0||2||2||1|
|C. Arroyo, PG||15||3-7||1-2||2||2||2||7|
|B. Outlaw, PF||Did Not Play|
|P. Garrity, PF||Did Not Play|
|K. Bogans, SG||Did Not Play|
|T. Diener, PG||Did Not Play|
|J. Augustine, PF||Did Not Play|
|J. Redick, SG||Did Not Play|
|Complete Box Score|
|A. Harrington, C||38||13-23||6-7||8||1||3||32|
|D. Granger, SF||35||7-8||3-4||7||1||3||18|
|S. Jackson, SG||34||2-10||5-6||2||6||3||10|
|J. O'Neal, PF||32||4-15||1-2||11||1||3||9|
|J. Tinsley, PG||27||1-4||1-2||6||3||2||4|
|M. Daniels, SG||19||1-4||2-2||1||3||1||4|
|J. Foster, C||18||1-5||2-2||8||1||3||4|
|D. Armstrong, PG||16||1-4||0-0||2||2||2||3|
|S. Jasikevicius, PG||14||0-5||5-5||0||2||0||5|
|R. Marshall, SF||6||0-0||2-2||0||0||0||2|
|D. Harrison, C||2||1-1||0-0||0||0||2||2|
|M. Baston, PF||Did Not Play|
|J. Powell, PF||Did Not Play|
|O. Greene, PG||Did Not Play|
|S. Williams, SF||Did Not Play|
|Complete Box Score|