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Lakers, Pacers Roll Without Stars

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So far, nobody's been hurt by the fight between Kobe Bryant and Reggie Miller.

Especially the Los Angeles Lakers and Indiana Pacers.

Bryant and Miller began serving two-game suspensions Sunday for Friday's postgame scuffle, but neither of their teams missed a beat.

After wearing Bryant's No. 8 jersey during warmups, player introductions and the national anthem, Shaquille O'Neal dominated the Houston Rockets with 36 points, 14 rebounds and seven assists in a 95-79 victory.

Bryant's jersey was awfully snug on O'Neal's 335-pound frame, but it got his message across.

``That's my guy. I know they're going to show it on every channel, and that's why I did it _ to keep him alive,'' O'Neal said. ``I know he's going to come back with a vengeance. It's going to put us right back on track. Everything happens for a reason.''

Jermaine O'Neal had 29 points and 11 rebounds as Indiana surprised Sacramento 97-86 in the NBA's toughest road arena, handing the Kings only their third home loss in 32 games this season.

``Everyone knew we had to step it up with Reggie out,'' said Pacers center Brad Miller, who arrived in a trade 12 days earlier. ``I come from Chicago _ we've been short-handed all year.''

In other NBA games, it was Philadelphia 96, Toronto 84; San Antonio 99, New York 83; New Jersey 92, Chicago 84; Seattle 96, Memphis 71; Detroit 83, Charlotte 81; Washington 107, Orlando 102 in overtime; Milwaukee 101, Cleveland 91; and Dallas 116, Denver 110 in overtime.

O'Neal was suspended for three games in January for taking a swing at Brad Miller. While O'Neal was out, Bryant played with Shaq's No. 34 written on his sneakers.

O'Neal returned the sentiment Sunday, promising to ``hold the fort'' during Bryant's absence.

``I'm not saying they're better without Kobe, but there's no difference because that means Shaq plays even harder,'' Houston's Walt Williams said.

The Pacers were disgusted that Miller got the same suspension as Bryant, who appeared to start the fight just after the final buzzer of the Lakers' win.

The two wrestled briefly before the skirmish spilled onto the scorers' table. Neither was seriously hurt.

Both players also were fined _ Bryant $12,500 and Miller $10,000 _ for one of the NBA's most high-profile fights in recent years.

``I am extremely disappointed,'' Miller said in a statement issued before Indiana's game. ``I was confident the league, after reviewing the tape and interviewing those involved, would see it was clear that I was neither the instigator nor the aggressor in this incident.

``Kobe has other issues he has to deal with. This had nothing to do with me or the basketball game played on Friday evening.''

Bryant's suspension will cost him about $250,000 in salary, and he'll also miss Tuesday night's home game against the Eastern Conference-leading New Jersey Nets.

The Pacers held Chris Webber to 13 points on 2-for-16 shooting and beat Sacramento for the fifth straight time, leaving the Kings just one game ahead of the two-time defending NBA champion Lakers for the league's best record.

Indiana won its second straight at Arco Arena, where the Kings are 62-11 the past two seasons. Sacramento was held under 35 percent shooting for the first time all season.

``We just seem to catch them at the right time,'' Pacers coach Isiah Thomas said. ``When you're 29-2 at home, the odds start working in the visitors' favor. I feel bad for the next team that comes in here.''

76ers 96, Raptors 84

Allen Iverson scored 42 points _ topping 40 for the second game in a row and the 40th time in his career _ as visiting Philadelphia dealt Toronto its 11th straight loss.

Vince Carter had just 12 points for the Raptors, on their longest losing streak since dropping a franchise-record 13 straight in 1998.

Spurs 99, Knicks 83

David Robinson scored 13 points to move within 12 of 20,000 for his career, and Tim Duncan had 25 points and 12 rebounds for visiting San Antonio, which started a string of seven straight games against losing teams.

Nets 92, Bulls 84

Jason Collins scored 17 points and matched a career high with 12 rebounds, and Lucious Harris scored 16 points in the fourth quarter as host New Jersey snapped a two-game skid.

Nets forward Kenyon Martin was called for his sixth flagrant foul this season, which will result in a one-game suspension.

SuperSonics 96, Grizzlies 71

Gary Payton had 20 points and 13 assists to lead Seattle to victory at Memphis.

The Grizzlies have dropped seven straight and 10 of 11, while the Sonics have won five of six.

Pistons 83, Hornets 81

Jerry Stackhouse scored 28 points and hit a driving layup with 3.7 seconds left _ Detroit's third basket of the fourth quarter _ to lift Detroit at Charlotte.

Wizards 107, Magic 102, OT

Courtney Alexander scored a season-high 32 points as the host Wizards, playing without Michael Jordan and Richard Hamilton, broke a seven-game losing streak.

Washington had been 0-4 without Jordan.

Tracy McGrady had 30 points, nine assists, eight rebounds and four steals for Orlando.

Bucks 101, Cavaliers 91

Glenn Robinson scored 28 points, and Ray Allen had 27 as visiting Milwaukee got a rare win without injured Sam Cassell.

The Bucks had been 1-6 this season without Cassell, the team's third-leading scorer.

Mavericks 116, Nuggets 110, OT

Michael Finley scored seven of his 30 points in overtime for Dallas, and Nick Van Exel added 20 points despite a constant chorus of boos in his return to Denver.

Juwan Howard, sent to the Nuggets in the Van Exel trade, had 30 points and 10 rebounds. Denver has lost seven of eight.

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