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Pacers Sing Sterling a Song of Woe : Pro basketball: After 121-109 victory, Indiana players are angry at Clipper owner.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

That serenade Donald T. Sterling, the Clipper owner, got after Friday night’s game at the Sports Arena wasn’t a swan song, although his team did lose again, a not-too-pretty sight that had Coach Mike Schuler ripping the players.

The chorus of commentary was courtesy of some members of the Indiana Pacers, who finished off the Clippers, 121-109, and then went to work on Sterling as they walked off the court.

“At the All-Star break, he was talking to Donnie (Walsh, the Pacer president) and the owner and three or four other general managers, and he roasted this team,” Indiana forward LaSalle Thompson said. “He said we were . . . and couldn’t play.”

The conversation was passed along to the players, who have kept it in mind since mid-February. Sterling was not available for comment after the game, but the Pacers took advantage of an opportunity.

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“I just kept yelling his name and asking him how he felt,” Thompson said. “I told him he was a great owner, as evidenced by how many people were at the game.”

Schuler wouldn’t have heard the comments, because he was among the first off the court, disgusted all the way.

“What they do is trick me,” he said of the Clipper players. “They go out against Denver and come against San Antonio (both victories) and trick me. They waved a carrot.”

The Clippers trailed by six points to open the fourth quarter, but rallied to go ahead, 95-94, with 8:35 remaining. Turns out all that meant was that they had a lead to lose while also having their three-game winning streak against the Pacers snapped.

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Indiana answered the Clipper run with a 14-4 charge of its own for a 108-99 cushion. When the Clippers moved back within striking distance at 108-103 with 3:42 left after baskets by Danny Manning and Ron Harper, the Pacers surged again. A basket by Reggie Miller, for two of his game-high 28 points, two free throws by Micheal Williams and one by Detlef Schrempf gave them another eight-point advantage with 1:38 left.

That was good enough to put away the Clippers, who had to foul the rest of the way but never got closer than six points.

Playing a team with a losing record for the fourth time in six games--and before opening a seven-game stretch that includes Portland twice, the Lakers and Phoenix--the Clippers couldn’t take advantage. At least not for long.

They opened a 29-27 margin after one quarter and 37-30 two minutes into the second.

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Then the Pacers stopped looking like a team that played the night before and was in the third game of a five-game trip. After shooting 46.7% Thursday in beating Sacramento and only 40.7% in the first quarter Friday, they made 10 of 12 shots during one stretch to take a 52-45 lead.

The Clippers shot 55.6% (10 of 18) in the third quarter but the Pacers led, 89-83, heading into the fourth.

Clipper Notes

Gary Grant missed his third consecutive game because of a bruised left thigh but probably will play Sunday at Portland. . . . The Cleveland Cavaliers accused the Clippers of encouraging fans to boo Danny Ferry. Coach Lenny Wilkens claimed there was an anti-Ferry promotion, though he didn’t say where he read or heard of it. The Clippers deny it. Ferry merely accused Olden Polynice of “bush” tactics to turn the crowd against him, as if they needed any more encouragement. During one stoppage, when fans were booing Ferry, Polynice waved his arms to ask for more.

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