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No sting in second half

Hornets go cold in second half as Pacers break skid

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Posted: Friday April 02, 1999 11:46 PM

  Elden Campbell and the Hornets were dunked by the Pacers. AP

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- Larry Bird got angry, and the Indiana Pacers got back to their winning ways.

With his team in danger of losing four in a row for the first time since he joined the team in 1997, Bird vented his frustrations during halftime of Friday night's game against Charlotte.

The Pacers responded by holding Charlotte to 34 second-half points on the way to an 87-81 victory over the Hornets.

"We played a horrible first half, absolutely horrible," said Bird, whose team trailed by eight at halftime. "After losing three games in a row, I thought we'd get a good effort, but there was no effort."

"He was upset," Indiana's Antonio Davis said, "but it was mostly about playing with heart, playing with dedication and getting extra effort from everybody. And you know what? That's not asking too much out of your players."

Indiana, which had lost each of its previous three games by a single point, avoided any late-game drama this time by limiting the Hornets to nine third-quarter points. Charlotte missed its first 12 field-goal attempts and 14 of 18 in the period.

"They're going to say they missed shots," Indiana's Reggie Miller said. "We're going to say it was our defense."

Miller had 18 points and Rik Smits 17 to lead the Pacers, who pushed their Central Division lead to one game over the idle Detroit Pistons. Davis had 11 of his 14 points in the second half, including six in the 10-4 surge that put Indiana in control in the fourth quarter.

Charlotte, held without a field goal for the first eight-plus minutes of the third quarter, lost its third consecutive game, all at home.

"The third quarter was a real struggle for us," coach Paul Silas said. "We had a lot of open looks. We just didn't make them."

Derrick Coleman had 19 points and 14 rebounds to lead Charlotte. The Hornets' Eddie Jones had 17 points, giving him 5,000 for his five-year career.

"The shots just stopped falling in the second half," Jones said. "We came out sluggish in the third and gave them life. We had one of those quarters where we couldn't do anything right."

The Hornets' drought to open the third quarter allowed the Pacers to rally from an eight-point deficit for a 49-48 lead on a jumper by Chris Mullin.

There were four more lead changes and a tie before Davis powered the run that gave the Pacers their biggest lead to that stage, 74-66 with 6:44 left in the game.

After Indiana stretched it to 82-72 on a fast-break layup by Jalen Rose with 3:32 remaining, the Hornets got no closer than five.

Notes: Charlotte guard Bobby Phills sat out his fourth consecutive game to rest a pulled groin. He is expected to miss at least one more game. The Hornets also played without reserve center Charles Shackleford, who had the flu. ... Coleman and Smits briefly exchanged shoves and words in the third quarter under the Pacers' basket. Each player was assessed a technical. ... Jones has at least one steal in all 13 games he has played for the Hornets since being traded from the Lakers last month. He had three steals Friday night along with a season-high eight assists. ... Indiana has been held to 93 points or less in four consecutive games.

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