By Conrad Brunner
Danny Granger's step-back jumper over former teammate Shawne Williams with three-tenths of a second remaining gave the Pacers a thrilling 119-117 victory over the Knicks before 14,164 on Tuesday in Conseco Fieldhouse.
Granger missed Indiana's 106-93 victory Sunday in New York with the flu but returned in a big way, scoring 26. But his big shot was just one of many clutch plays by the Pacers down the stretch as they scored on eight of their final nine possessions with Roy Hibbert scoring six in a row and Darren Collison hitting two buckets.
After Collison hit a jumper to put the Pacers up 116-115 with 24.8 seconds left, the Knicks did not take a timeout and turned the ball over when Amare Stoudemire couldn't handle Chauncey Billups' pass into the lane. Rookie Paul George came up with the ball and was fouled. He made one of two free throws with 13 seconds left, leaving the door open.
With the chance to play for the last shot, Carmelo Anthony instead took the first opportunity, beating Granger on a baseline drive to tie it with 7.8 seconds to go. That set the stage for Granger, who took the ball at the top of the key, made two power dribbles to his right and pulled up for the game-winner.
Tyler Hansbrough led the Pacers with 30, his second game in a row with a career-high. Granger had 26 and Collison 24. Anthony led New York with 29 while Stoudemire had 21.
The Pacers won their second in a row over the Knicks to improve to 29-38 overall, 18-15 at home and 12-11 under interim coach Frank Vogel. New York dropped to 34-32 overall, 16-18 on the road and 6-6 since the blockbuster trade to acquire Anthony and Billups from Denver.
- "Obviously a huge win. Any time you can beat a team in a back-to-back situation it's tough. Our execution down the stretch, particularly in the fourth quarter was terrific." -- Vogel
- "He keeps growing on a game-by-game basis. Hes getting better and better." -- Vogel on Hansbrough
- "My main priority was to get the last shot. Worse thing in those situations is when you don't take a last shot and they have a chance to come back and win the game. I held it as long as I thought I could and I got a good look." -- Granger
- "No one in this locker room wants to lose. It just came down to us being tough and competing and getting better and focused on our defense, which is crucial." -- Hansbrough
- "Right now were just trying to take care of our business. We put ourselves in a corner and we're trying fight out of it." -- Pacers center Roy Hibbert
- "I knew once he got the ball and at the top of the key he was going to look to take the shot and not pass it. I had to respect the drive he's an All-Star and he hit the shot." -- Knicks forward Shawne Williams on Granger's game-winner
STAT OF THE GAME
Hansbrough, Granger and Collison combined for 80 points on 31-of-50 shooting (62 percent). New York's newly formed Big Three of Anthony, Stoudemire and Billups combined for 64 points on 22-of-48 shooting (46 percent).
In one of the most compelling games played in Conseco Fieldhouse this season, the Pacers appeared to take control with an electrifying 20-4 run in the third quarter. After New York took a 64-63 lead, Hansbrough took over, scoring seven in the run, including a hammer dunk, as the Pacers bolted to an 83-68 lead.
New York quickly countered, however, with a 16-4 run that cut the margin go 87-84 early in the fourth quarter. The Knicks then surged into the lead with a 10-2 run, 98-96, but Collison responded with a three-point play and Granger scored in transition to put the Pacers back on top.
That set up a dramatic finish in which the lead changed hands six times and the score was tied five times in the final six minutes.
BY THE NUMBERS
Hansbrough had another strong shooting night, hitting 12-of-17 overall and 6-of-8 from the line for his 30 points. Granger made 10-of-20, adding seven rebounds, three assists and two blocks. Collison scored 24 on 9-of-13 shooting with nine assists. Hibbert had his 17th double-double with 15 points and 12 rebounds, adding five assists and three blocks. The Pacers shot 52 percent, outrebounded the Knicks 46-41 and had 26 assists.
Anthony shot 10-of-20 overall, 3-of-5 from the arc for his 29, adding nine assists and four turnovers. Stoudemire shot 7-of-17 and had 10 rebounds and two blocks with his 21. Landry Fields scored 17, Toney Douglas 17 off the bench, Billups 14 with five assists and Williams 10 with six rebounds. The Knicks shot 45 percent and were 13-of-27 (48 percent) from the 3-point line.
- Including two in the span of just three days, the Pacers have won 12 of the last 18 games vs. New York, and they have won six of their last nine home games vs. the Knicks.
- Hansbrough, Granger and Collison are the first trio of Pacers to all score 20-plus points in the same game since Granger, Collison and Mike Dunleavy combined for 68 points in the Pacers' win at Philadelphia on Jan. 11.
- The Pacers had 26 assists, their most in the last 31 games.
- With three tonight, Paul George recorded at least one steal in his ninth straight game.
- With just one more offensive rebound (13-12), the Pacers outscored the Knicks, 16-8, in second chance points.
The Pacers travel to Boston for another big challenge against the Celtics on Wednesday (7:30 p.m., Fox Sports Indiana, WIBC 93 FM).