Granger’s 32 lead Pacers past Thunder 121-101

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INDIANAPOLIS (AP)—Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant(notes) has created a lot of buzz this season, the way Indiana’s Danny Granger(notes) did a year earlier.

In case anyone had forgotten about him, Granger provided a reminder by scoring 32 points to help the Indiana Pacers beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 121-101 Sunday.

He also played a role in Durant’s subpar performance. Durant scored 16 points on 4 for 16 shooting and had five turnovers. Twice in the first quarter, Granger stole the ball from Durant, then scored a layup at the other end.

“You’ve got to be physical with him,” Granger said. “Whenever I match up with a really good offensive player, it’s always a challenge. In the NBA, you have a lot of good players, so when you have the opportunity, you relish it.”

Durant expected better from himself.

“Tonight was a disgrace to how we play and the game of basketball, how we came out, and that starts with me,” he said. “I apologize to all the fans, all my teammates that I came out like that, and it translated to my team.”

Troy Murphy(notes) had 22 points and 13 rebounds and Roy Hibbert(notes) had 20 points and eight rebounds for the Pacers, who have won three of four.

Indiana shot 52 percent in the game. Oklahoma City, one of the league’s best defensive teams, allowed its highest point total of the season.

Jeff Green(notes) led Oklahoma City with 20 points.

The Thunder had won six of seven. It was the second time in less that a week that a hot team lost at Conseco Fieldhouse. Charlotte took a 6-game win streak to Indiana before losing 99-94 on Tuesday.

“Teams come in here and kind of overlook us,” Murphy said. “They see our record and think it’s going to be an easy ‘W.’ They probably figure that a team with our record would have packed it in by now.”

Indiana shot 55 percent in the first half to lead 59-48 at the break.

The Pacers stretched their lead quickly in the second half. A three-point play, then a 3-pointer by Murphy gave Indiana a 69-53 lead early in the third quarter. Another three by Murphy made it 74-53.

“They kind of got into the lane a lot and kicked out for threes,” Durant said. “We’ve just got to contain the ball a little better than we did tonight and contest shots. We didn’t do either one, and they got off to a good lead on us.”

In an example of the Thunder’s futility, Indiana’s offense was out of sync when there was a scramble for the ball under the basket. The ball was saved, and Granger ended up with it with 3 seconds left on the shot clock. Granger faked, then drew a foul from Thabo Sefolosha(notes) as the shot clock expired. Granger made both free throws to give the Pacers a 78-55 lead.

Indiana shot 53 percent in the third quarter and led 93-74 at the end of the period. Oklahoma City never led.

“They played harder than us from the start, and they played harder than us all four quarters,” Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks said. “In this league, if you don’t respect your opponent, this is what will happen to you.”

NOTES: Oklahoma City G James Harden(notes) missed his fifth straight game with a right hamstring strain. … Indiana G T.J. Ford(notes) sat out for the fifth straight game with a strained left groin. … Indiana shot 56.5 percent in the first quarter to lead 32-25. … Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook(notes) was called for a technical foul for comments he made while heading to the bench late in the third quarter. … Former Indiana University player D.J. White(notes) entered the game in the fourth quarter to a loud ovation.

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Top Performers

 Top Performers
 Oklahoma City
J. Green Jeff Green
6-10,  20 Pts
6 Rebs, 3 Assists
 Indiana
D. Granger Danny Granger
11-21,  32 Pts
7 Rebs, 2 Assists

Team Stat Leaders

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Rebounds
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Sunday, Mar 21