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Hansbrough, defense carry Pacers to big win

By Conrad Brunner
Pacers.com

With Tyler Hansbrough scoring a career-high 29 points and the defense limiting one of the most explosive teams in the league to 37 percent shooting, the Pacers snapped a six-game losing streak with an authoritative 106-93 victory over the Knicks Sunday before 19, 763 in Madison Square Garden.

With leading scorer Danny Granger out with the flu, Dahntay Jones stepped into the starting lineup at small forward and scored 18 points while playing solid defense against Knicks superstar Carmelo Anthony, who totaled 25 points but made just one bucket in the second half.

Indiana shot 57 percent and limited the Knicks to 7-of-30 (23 percent) shooting from the 3-point line.

IMPACT

The victory improved the Pacers to 28-38 overall and put them back in eighth place in the Eastern Conference standings. Charlotte (28-38) beat Toronto Sunday but Indiana already has clinched the season-series tie-breaker with the Bobcats. New York dropped to 34-31 overall, 18-15 at home and a modest 6-5 since the blockbuster trade to acquire Anthony and Chauncey Billups from Denver last month.

QUOTE MARKS

  • "Great win for our guys, well-needed win. We've been obviously struggling. Guys picked up when Danny was out." -- Vogel
  • "Tyler Hansbrough is a beast. Our young frontcourt had a good night. They're young, they make mistakes sometimes but they had a great, great night. Roy Hibbert, Tyler, Josh McRoberts was good off the bench and the old man came off the bench, Jeff Foster, and guarded Stoudemire pretty well." -- Vogel
  • "We know they're the second-best 3-point shooting team in the league in attempts and percentage. We knew we had to take that away." -- Vogel
  • "It really feels good, especially after the struggles we've had, a lot of people saying a lot of things. This really picked it up for us and gave us some confidence." -- Hansbrough
  • "(This) gives us a little confidence and got us back in the playoff spot that we want. That's a goal, so hopefully we can keep it up." -- Hansbrough

STAT OF THE GAME

Chauncey Billups (0-of-7), Anthony (1-of-5) and Toney Douglas (1-of-8) combined to hit 2-of-20 (10 percent) from the 3-point line for the Knicks.

HIGHLIGHTS

This game represented a complete reversal of the way things had gone for the Pacers in their losing streak. They got off to a quick start, bolding to a 36-23 lead early in the second quarter and never relented.

With both Anthony and Amare Stoudemire in foul trouble, the Pacers pushed their 54-46 halftime lead to 83-63 late in the third quarter as Hansbrough scored 13 in the period.

The Knicks got an unexpected lift from deep reserve Bill Walker, who hit a pair of 3-pointers to spark a 14-4 counter that brought New York back to 87-77 early in the fourth quarter. Then came a huge sequence for Jones, who beat the shot-clock with a jumper and then drew an offensive foul in the post, Anthony's fifth of the game.

Though the Pacers were struggling at the offensive end, hitting just 2-of-9 in the first six minutes of the period, their defense dug in and halted the New York run, limiting the Knicks to 1-of-8 shooting.

The Pacers got big 3-pointers from Darren Collison and Brandon Rush to push the lead to 99-83 with 3:23 left, effectively putting the game away, and Hansbrough punctuated his performance with a thundering dunk on a drive down a wide-open lane in the closing minutes.

BY THE NUMBERS

Hansbrough scored at least 20 points for the fourth straight game and shot 12-of-20 overall, adding eight rebounds to his career-high 29. Jones shot 5-of-11 from the field, 7-of-8 from the line for his 18 points. Collison had a solid outing with 16 points and eight assists, though he committed four turnovers. Hibbert used his size to full effect against the undersized Knicks with 12 points, eight rebounds, five blocked shots and three assists

Stoudemire led the Knicks with 28 on 8-of-15 shooting from the field, scoring 12-of-14 from the line, but had just six rebounds and three turnovers. Anthony was 9-of-22 overall for 25 points with five turnovers and zero assists. The only other New Yorker in double-figures was former Pacers first-round pick Shawne Williams with 13, including 3-of-6 from the arc. The Knicks had just 11 assists and committed 15 turnovers.

NOTEWORTHY

  • Granger missed just his second game of the season. The other was a 92-73 loss in Chicago on Dec. 13.
  • Billups returned after missing six games with a thigh bruise and showed obvious signs of rust, shooting 4-of-14 with four turnovers.
  • Hansbrough has averaged 24.0 points on 59 percent shooting in the last four games.
  • The Pacers led after one quarter (29-21) and at halftime (54-46) for the first time in seven games.

    UP NEXT

    The Pacers and Knicks meet again Tuesday in Conseco Fieldhouse (7 p.m., Fox Sports Indiana, WIBC 93 FM). Tickets: Buy now | Two for Tuesday presented by IMCU.