Rewind: Pacers vs. Nets120216
Thursday, Feb. 16 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse
Game Rewind: Pacers 93, Nets 88
By Conrad Brunner
Danny Granger returned from a sprained ankle and scored 32 points, including the clinching free throws with 19 seconds left, to lead the Pacers to a much-needed 93-88 victory over the Nets Thursday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Winning their 10th in a row over New Jersey, the Pacers (18-12) snapped a season-high five-game losing streak and avoided a sweep of their first set of back-to-back-to-back games in 13 years.
Granger's jumper put Indiana up 88-79 with 1:59 left and his free throws ended a late rally after the Nets had closed the gap to three points.
New Jersey (8-23) lost its eighth in a row overall.
BY THE NUMBERS
Granger shot 10-of-20 overall, including 4-of-7 from the 3-point line, for his 32 points. David West had 16 points and six rebounds, Roy Hibbert 13 points and 11 rebounds and Paul George 11 points, five rebounds, five assists and four steals.
Deron Williams led the Nets with 29 points, adding six rebounds and four assists but committing six turnovers. Kris Humphries had 24 points on 11 of 14 shooting, adding 10 rebounds. Marshon Brooks scored 14 but shot 6 of 16. The Nets committed 20 turnovers.
The Pacers put together a 9-2 run to break a 69-all tie early in the fourth quarter, with A.J. Price's three-point play putting Indiana up 78-71 with 6:13 remaining, the team's biggest lead of the game to that point.
With George harassing Deron Williams, pushing the Nets deep into the shot clock on the majority of their possessions, the defense continued to be effective as the run extended to 17-8 and the lead to 86-77 after consecutive scores by Hibbert with 2:38 remaining.
Williams hit a 3-pointer and a pair of free throws to cut it to 88-84 with 49 seconds to go. Hibbert then rebounded a Granger miss but rather than pulling it out and re-setting a fresh possession, he put up a shot and was fouled, making one with 31.4 seconds left. Humphries tipped in Williams' miss to make it a three-point game with 25.6 seconds left.
The Nets came out hot, making nine in a row in the first quarter and building a 29-18 lead as Humphries (6 of 6) and Williams combined for 21 points. But Indiana scored the next 15 points, including a pair of 3-pointers by Granger and one from George, to take a 33-29 lead early in the second quarter as Nets missed five in a row and committed four turnovers in the first four minutes of the period. The teams remained close the rest of the half and the score was 50-50 at the break.
The defenses tightened up in the third quarter and both teams found points much harder to come by, combining for just 29 on 11 of 41 shooting. Granger scored eight of the Pacers' 14 in the period while Humphries had six of the Nets' 15 and New Jersey took a 65-64 lead into the fourth.
Including 29-21 tonight, the Pacers have been outscored 94-57 in the first quarters of their last three games. … The Pacers wore Hardwood Classics uniforms, representing the 1971-74 ABA seasons, for the fourth time. They'll wear them four more times this season, including Sunday against the Bobcats. … Granger returned after missing Wednesday's 98-87 loss in Cleveland with a sprained left ankle. … George Hill continues to go through individual workouts on court but the timetable for his return from a chip fracture in his left ankle remains indefinite. Vogel said he remains hopeful Hill may return before the All-Star break. … The Nets were without starting center Brook Lopez (broken foot), backup center Mehmet Okur (back spasms), Damion James (foot surgery) and Shawne Williams (sprained left shoulder, sore left knee and foot).
After a couple of much-needed days off, the Pacers return to action Sunday against Charlotte in Bankers Life Fieldhouse (6 p.m., Fox Sports Indiana, WIBC 93 FM). This will be the first meeting between the teams this season, and the Pacers will be trying to extend their streak against the Bobcats to seven. Charlotte carries the NBA's worst record (3-26) and a 16-game losing streak into Toronto Saturday.