INDIANAPOLIS – Now Atlanta can even win on the road.

Al Harrington scored 17 points and Joe Johnson added 16 points, seven rebounds and nine assists as the Hawks held off the Indiana Pacers’ late charge for an 87-85 victory.

Atlanta (2-9) won its second straight despite shooting 36 percent from the field. The victory snapped a seven-game road losing streak that dated to last season and ended the Pacers’ seven-game winning streak in the series. It was Atlanta’s first win over Indiana since March 22, 2003.

The Pacers (7-4) were led by Jermaine O’Neal with 30 points and 10 rebounds. Sarunas Jasikevicius added 14 points.

Atlanta took advantage of a dreadful-looking opponent, which barely resembled the team that blew out Cleveland one day earlier.

Part of the explanation for Indiana’s woes was the loss of Ron Artest, one of the NBA’s best defenders and the Pacers’ top scorer. He was deactivated before the game with a bruised right wrist and was replaced by Fred Jones.

Coach Rick Carlisle moved Stephen Jackson to small forward – an adjustment that didn’t work well. Jackson was 4-of-15 from the field and never was a factor.

Artest is expected to have an MRI exam done Saturday.

How ugly was it?

On one possession, Jackson was handed the basketball on an inbound play as he tied one shoe, and Atlanta knocked it from his hands and out of bounds. When Jackson got the ball back, he was tying his other shoe and nearly threw it away. That drew boos from a crowd, which was weary of Indiana’s lazy shots and lack of emotion.

After the Pacers scored 10 straight points in the third quarter, including two free throws from O’Neal that gave Indiana its first lead at 47-46 with 5:45 left, the Hawks fought back.

Salim Stoudamire’s 3-pointer tied it at 51, and Josh Childress followed that with a three-point play as Atlanta retook the lead 54-51.

Indiana appeared to right itself early in the fourth quarter when Jasikevicius hit a 3 on the Pacers’ opening possession to give Indiana a 59-57 lead.

But the Hawks continued to stay even until Johnson’s 3-pointer with 1:10 left gave Atlanta an 82-81 lead.

Atlanta never trailed again.

Jasikevicius had a chance to win it with a 3 from the corner but it bounced off the rim as the buzzer sounded.

Notes: Indiana had won nine straight over the Hawks at Conseco Fieldhouse. … The 85 points matched the Pacers’ season low. … Atlanta had a 56-45 rebounding advantage. … Indiana was 3-of-17 from 3-point range.

AP-ES-11-25-05 2307EST


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