Pacers 86, Clippers 82
EVANSVILLE, Ind. (AP) _ Jonathan Bender scored 17 points and made two 3-pointers as part of a late 12-0 run as the Indiana Pacers defeated the Los Angeles Clippers 86-82 Sunday.
Bender, listed as a 6-foot-11 forward, will be used at shooting guard this season under the direction of new coach Isiah Thomas.
``He’s one of the purest shooters around,″ Thomas said of Bender, who entered the NBA directly out of high school a year ago and was used sparingly last season. Thomas wants to use the skinny Bender at the off guard position so he can match up with players closer to his weight (196 pounds).
Bender’s first 3-pointer gave the Pacers a 74-73 lead, and his next one upped it to a four-point lead. Sam Perkins followed with a 3-pointer and Bender scored from inside to give the Pacers an 84-73 advantage that was too much for the Clippers to overcome in the final three minutes.
Perkins and Jermaine O’Neal added 14 points each, and Reggie Miller had 13 for Indiana. O’Neal also grabbed 18 rebounds.
Clippers rookie Darius Miles, who also entered the NBA straight out of high school, had an impressive dunk over the 7-foot O’Neal en route to 16 points. Corey Maggette also had 16 for Los Angeles, which was without regulars Lamar Odom, Tyrone Nesby and Eric Piatkowski.
Jalen Rose, Al Harrington and Travis Best did not play for Indiana because of injuries.
Pacers backup center Bruno Sundov played the final two minutes and committed four fouls. Clippers forward Etdrick Bohannon had three fouls, two rebounds and three missed free throws _ all in three minutes.