Granger leads Pacers past Knicks
INDIANAPOLIS (AP)—If the Indiana Pacers had started playing like this in November, they might be looking forward to a playoff run instead of the draft lottery.
Indiana put up its second straight impressive effort in a 113-105 win over the New York Knicks on Wednesday night. The Pacers scored a season-high 133 points in their previous game, a home win against Houston on Sunday.
The Pacers won for the 10th time in their last 11 home games and have won eight of 10 overall.
“We’re clicking well on the offensive end,” said Pacers forward Danny Granger(notes), who led the way with 33 points. “We’re making shots, we’re moving, we’re getting layups, we’re cutting. We really have everything going.”
“We have nothing to lose, we’re just out there playing for our team,” Hibbert said. “We’re not making the playoffs—we could have given up—but we just wanted to keep playing hard.”
It was Granger’s eighth game with 30 or more points since March 1, resembling the scoring machine who made the Eastern Conference All-Star team in 2009.
“They have an All-Star in Granger, who’s playing exceptionally well,” Knicks guard Tracy McGrady(notes) said. “They’ve got a lot of weapons, they just got to continue to grow as a team. Hopefully, in the near future they could be a playoff team.”
New York was coming off a 104-101 home win against Boston and looked tired early against the Pacers.
“I thought we were dead from the start with the game last night,” New York coach Mike D’Antoni said. “We didn’t have the necessary energy to start the game off.”
Indiana led by as many as 20 points in the first half, but the Knicks tied the game at 95 early in the fourth quarter on a 3-pointer by Douglas.
Indiana responded with a 7-0 run. A 3-pointer by Granger made it 102-95 and forced the Knicks to call timeout. The Pacers remained comfortably ahead from there.
Granger scored 14 points in the first quarter, and the Pacers shot 67 percent to lead 38-25 at the end of the period.
Indiana started the second quarter off just as hot, extending its lead to 51-31 early in the second quarter.
The Knicks went on a 26-8 run to cut Indiana’s lead to 59-57, but the Pacers closed the quarter with a 13-2 run to lead 72-59 at halftime. It was the second-highest point total for Indiana in a half this season, trailing the 73 the Pacers scored in the first half against Minnesota on Jan. 2.
“They get up and down, high volume of shots,” McGrady said. “If you don’t shoot the ball particularly well and get stops, they’re going to give you a hard time.”
The Knicks started the second half on a 13-3 run to cut Indiana’s lead to 75-72, but Indiana rallied with a flurry of 3-pointers. A.J. Price(notes) hit a three, then Granger, then Price again, to give the Pacers an 88-78 lead.
New York pushed back again and cut Indiana’s lead to 90-88 at the end of the quarter, but the Knicks never got the lead.
“I thought we played pretty well, except for the start,” D’Antoni said. “Our legs just gave way towards the end.”
Indiana found its legs as a team a bit too late this season.
“It’s unfortunate it took us so long to get in the swing of things,” Hibbert said. “Hopefully, we can keep scoring like this and it can keep going until next year.”
NOTES: Pacers G T.J. Ford(notes) sat out for the 13th straight game with a strained groin. Coach Jim O’Brien said he’s not responding to treatment well. … Murphy chased a loose ball into the crowd in the first quarter, and the Pacers had to call a timeout because he fell between two rows of seats and couldn’t quickly return to the court. He was unharmed, and so were the fans. … McGrady returned to the starting lineup after missing two games with a sore left knee. He finished with four points and six assists in 25 minutes.