Indiana 95, Los Angeles Lakers 84

INDIANAPOLIS, Feb. 2 (AP) -- Danny Granger was looking forward to facing Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers.

Granger scored 14 points, but it was his defense on Bryant that stood out as the Indiana Pacers beat the Lakers 95-84 on Friday night.

The second-year forward helped hold Bryant to 22 points on 7-of-25 shooting from the field as the Pacers rallied in the fourth quarter to win for the fifth time in their last six games.

"I try to look at him as just another player,'' Granger said. "He's a good player, but there's also Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony - who I've all played against. Maybe last year I was a little enamored by the superstars, but this year they're just another player to me.''

Jermaine O'Neal had 22 points and nine rebounds, Jamaal Tinsley finished with 16 points and reserve Darrell Armstrong scored 14 for Indiana (25-21), which used a 17-2 fourth-quarter run to pull away.

O'Neal was impressed with the Pacers' defense, which held Los Angeles to 38 percent shooting and forced 20 turnovers.

"I think Danny Granger and the rest of the team did a great job of playing team defense on Kobe and making other guys take some tough shots,'' O'Neal said. "Any time we play good team defense, we have an opportunity to win the game.''

Bryant entered the game averaging 28.8 points and was coming off a 43-point effort in the Lakers' win over Boston on Wednesday.

"The ball wouldn't go in for me,'' he said. "Tonight was just one of those nights where nothing seemed to go right.''

Bryant had seven points and Smush Parker scored nine of his 20 points in the third quarter as the Lakers turned a five-point deficit into a 70-61 lead late in the period.

But the Pacers scored nine straight points to tie the score early in the fourth, and minutes later Armstrong and Tinsley hit consecutive 3-pointers to spark the winning run for Indiana. Granger's layup gave the Pacers an 89-76 lead with 1:30 remaining.

"It says a lot because we were down and we could have easily folded,'' Granger said. "We kept fighting and kept plugging away.''

Bryant made two straight 3-pointers to bring the Lakers within 89-82, but the Pacers hit some key free throws down the stretch to seal the win.

"That's an ugly way to end the game,'' Los Angeles coach Phil Jackson said. "It looked like it was going to be a duel down to the finish.''

The Pacers jumped to an early double-digit lead behind O'Neal's 13 points. Mike Dunleavy's layup gave Indiana a 24-12 advantage with 3 minutes left in the first quarter.

The Lakers chipped away at the deficit in the second quarter, getting within 36-33 following Brian Cook's 3-pointer that capped a 7-0 run. The Pacers regained a 44-38 lead, but Bryant hit three free throws to end the first half.

After falling behind by five points to begin the third quarter, the Lakers began to capitalize on a number of Indiana turnovers to take control.

Los Angeles tied it at 53 following Bryant's layup midway through the third quarter, and the Lakers took a 55-53 edge after Ronny Turiaf's powerful two-handed dunk on a fast break. Parker's dunk gave Los Angeles its biggest lead, 70-61.

"We gave ourselves a little cushion going into the fourth, we just weren't able to sustain it,'' Bryant said. "We just didn't take care of the basketball, and we got away from our execution.''

Notes: Pacers C Troy Murphy left in the first quarter after being hit in the face by a Lakers player while trying to grab a defensive rebound. Murphy broke his nose and did not return. ... O'Neal was picked as an Eastern Conference All-Star reserve on Thursday. It will be his sixth career appearance at the All-Star game, setting a Pacers' NBA team record. Longtime Indiana G Reggie Miller was named to five All-Star teams. ... Lakers F Kwame Brown missed his 16th straight game with a left ankle sprain. ... The Lakers were playing their third game of an eight-game road trip, their longest since the 1989-90 season. They play at Washington on Saturday.

Copyright 2006 by STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited