Pacers 114, Grizzlies 104
INDIANAPOLIS (AP)—Danny Granger’s sore neck didn’t affect his shooting one bit.
“Considering what happened, not too bad at all. … I felt normal. And we got the win. I’m happy about that,” said Granger, who went to the hospital Monday night for X-rays—which were negative—after he took a hard fall against the Clippers.
“I just got hit in the neck. I was numb for a minute. It was a scary moment, but everything turned out all right,” he said.
Granger, who entered the game midway through the first quarter and helped the Pacers erase a nine-point deficit, said he had no hesitation about taking the ball to the basket.
“You can’t play afraid to get hurt. You just can’t play that way,” Granger said.
Jermaine O’Neal had 23 points and Marquis Daniels added 18 off the bench as the Pacers overcame a poor start, caught the Grizzlies in the third quarter and led by as many as 16 points midway through the final quarter.
Rookie Rudy Gay had a career-high 31 points for Memphis, including 12 in the third quarter. His final basket brought the Grizzlies to 110-102 with 2 minutes to go, but O’Neal hit two free throws and one field goal down the stretch to seal the win. Gay’s previous high this season was 23 points.
“I was taking good shots. I have been put in these situations before, so I knew how to take advantage of them,” said Gay, who hit 13 of 19 shots. “But once (Ike) Diogu and J.O. (O’Neal) got going, it was hard for us to stop them.”
Two baskets by Granger and four straight free throws by Diogu helped cut Memphis’ lead to 33-26 at the end of the period. Indiana trailed by seven before two baskets by Jeff Foster started a 10-0 run that put the Pacers back in the lead for the first time since the game’s opening minutes.
Granger had 11 points in the second quarter, including the Pacers’ final nine points. Two free throws by Granger tied the score at 51, but Chucky Atkins put Memphis back on top and then a 3-pointer by Gay gave the Grizzlies a 56-51 lead at halftime.
“It was a struggle,” Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said. “We were able to get stops in the third and fourth quarters to turn the game.”
The Pacers shot 71 percent in the third quarter and tied the score five times before O’Neal hit the first of two free throws for a 75-74 Indiana lead. Granger rebounded O’Neal’s miss, was fouled and hit two more free throws as the Pacers began pulling away.
“It was kind of back and forth,” Granger said. “We decided we needed to make a run, and we did. We put the hammer down.”
“I thought we played with good aggressiveness early,” Grizzlies coach Tony Barone said. “We didn’t have great energy in the second half. They were able to pound us on the glass.”
Rookie Shawne Williams, who played college ball at Memphis, started in place of Granger and scored two points in 6 minutes. He did not play after the first quarter. … The Indiana bench outscored the Memphis reserves 65-31 and outrebounded them 22-9. … Scott Padgett, acquired by Memphis in a trade for Jake Tsakalidis on Tuesday, was inactive. … Damon Stoudamire, who did not play against New Orleans on Tuesday because of the flu, played 14 minutes and scored four points off the bench. … Indiana’s Darrell Armstrong returned from a one-game suspension following his ejection from a game last week against Denver and had eight points in 24 minutes. … Memphis is 4-19 against Indiana, including 0-11 in Indianapolis.