Veteran point guard had his best overall game since joining the Pacers last month, producing 20 points on 7-of-11 shooting and adding 10 assists while badly outplaying heralded Atlanta counterpart Mike Bibby.
Name Min. +/- Name Min. +/-
Marquis Daniels 35:47 +28 David Harrison DNP ---
Travis Diener 17:53 -14 Troy Murphy 19:39 +16
Ike Diogu DNP --- Jermaine O'Neal 19:01 +1
Mike Dunleavy 40:30 +19 Andre Owens DNP ---
Jeff Foster 21:40 +3 Kareem Rush 5:28 -14
Stephen Graham DNP --- Jamaal Tinsley DNP ---
Danny Granger 36:38 +9 Shawne Williams 13:17 -6
Flip Murray 30:07 +28
  • Points in the paint: Hawks 48, Pacers 44
  • Fast-break points: Pacers 16, Hawks 9
  • Second-chance points: Hawks 21, Pacers 12
  • Points off turnovers: Pacers 16, Hawks 15
  • Starters scoring: Pacers 81, Hawks 72
  • Bench scoring: Pacers 31, Hawks 26
  • The Pacers have won their last four home games against Atlanta by an average margin of 19.5 points.
    The next-to-last road game of the season comes Friday in Philadelphia against the surging 76ers (7 p.m., FSN-Indiana, 1070 The Fan).
  • Audio: Jim O'Brien's postgame press conference
  • Season plus-minus rankings
  • Recap | Box score
  • Indiana 112, Atlanta 98
    Murray, Pacers postpone Hawks' party

    By Conrad Brunner | April 8, 2008

    With the game in hand and Jim O'Brien up off the bench shouting "no foul, no foul," Danny Granger couldn't help himself. With high-flying Josh Childress soaring in for a meaningless but potentially spectacular dunk in the closing seconds, Granger rose up, met Childress at his apex and snuffed the stuff.

    It was a point well made. In the eyes of many, it might be over, but the Pacers aren't done.

    Facing elimination from the playoff race with a loss, the Pacers postponed Atlanta's postseason party with a resounding 112-98 victory Tuesday in Conseco Fieldhouse. Flip Murray led the way with his best performance with Indiana, scoring 20 points in 7-of-11 shooting and adding 10 assists, dominating his matchup with Atlanta's Mike Bibby, who missed all eight of his shots and had just two assists in 27 minutes.

    The defense also continued its late-season surge, holding the Hawks to .372 shooting overall, including 7-of-29 in the third quarter when the Pacers stretched the lead to 29.

    "I'm very proud," said Coach Jim O'Brien. "I've used the word resilience a lot and we are (resilient). We've had a wonderful attitude all year, a good group to coach and it's very rewarding to see them having success when the season's on the line, to have a never-give-up attitude. To win nine out of 12 at any point in the season is something you can hang your hat on. The thing is, we have to continue to win. We have a big game in Philadelphia coming up (Friday) against a very hot basketball team."

    The Pacers (34-44) won their third in a row, fifth in six and ninth in 12 games. They also clinched the season series (the first tiebreaker) with Atlanta and cut the eighth-place Hawks' lead to two games with four remaining. The Hawks (36-42), who lost for just the second time in eight games, still have a magic number of three for their first playoff berth in nine years.

    Two huge runs turned the game into a rout. With Murray providing the spark, the Pacers put together a 17-3 run in the first quarter to take a 31-23 lead. They steadily pulled away through the second period and held a 67-52 lead at the break. The Hawks came unglued after the break as Josh Smith picked up a technical foul and a flagrant foul on consecutive possessions while the Pacers were building a 15-2 run that stretched the advantage to 82-54. The Hawks missed 14 of 15 shots during that run.

    Riding Joe Johnson's shooting and Josh Childress' offensive rebounding, the Hawks created some drama with a 22-4 run bridging the third and fourth periods that cut the lead to 95-85 but Murray returned to the floor and the Pacers regained their momentum with a 10-2 run to put it away.

    Murray played with a focus and authority previously unseen, not only producing impact statistics but imposing his will on the game. "I think he played in command of his game and our tempo," said O'Brien. "He did a nice job of not only looking for his shot but understanding he could score on Bibby."

    Mike Dunleavy scored 28 points six rebounds, Granger 16 with eight rebounds and two blocks, Marquis Daniels 15 off the bench. Jermaine O'Neal had 10 points and four blocked shots in his 19 minutes off the bench. The Pacers shot .513 overall.

    The Hawks grabbed 20 offensive rebounds that converted to 21 second-chance points. Johnson was relatively quiet until the game seemed out of reach, scoring 19 of his 30 after the lead reached 28. Smith had big numbers (25 points, 13 rebounds) but spent most of the night going solo. Childress was his usual thorny self off the bench with 16 point and 12 rebounds.

  • Pacers forward Shawne Williams left the game with 9:39 remaining with a sprained left ankle.
  • Recently hired Indiana University Coach Tom Crean was in attendance and received a nice ovation when introduced. Crean coached Pacers guard Travis Diener when both were at Marquette.
  • The Pacers have won four in a row and nine of 10 at home.

    “We needed a W and we got one. We defended well and when we kept them off the glass we kept the tempo where we wanted it. We’re playing defense more consistently when the game is on the line and I think we moved the basketball. I think our guys are really focused right now."
    (on Flip Murray) "He played in command of his game and our tempo. 20 points and 10 assists in 30 minutes is terrific. With what Travis did the last game, it’s nice to get that kind of production from your point guards."
    "I’m very proud. We’ve had a wonderful attitude all year. It’s rewarding to see them have success when the season is on the line. We have to continue to win. We’ve got a tough game in Philly Friday night.”
    “Well, we live to play another day and we hope that Atlanta can drop a few and that we keep our sense of urgency at a high level. We knew we had to pick it up after our slow start to the game. With two home and two away now, we’re just going to have to take it one game at a time."
    (on losing the 29-point lead) "Obviously, we had a bit of a lull and they got some good runs in on us and we kind of let down. But when it came down to it, we pulled together down the stretch to get this really important win.”
    “Obviously, a very big win for us tonight to keep us in the hunt. We had a big start to the second half but had a bit of a letdown and let them get back in the game. But we must stick together to pull it out. We’re a team that’s not going to quit because we think the playoffs are still a possibility. But we obviously can’t have any more losses. We definitely had that sense of urgency tonight and winning the last nine of twelve, wish we could have done it more often this season. And I love this playoff pressure.”
    “Unfortunately, we have to play four quarters but we only played one quarter tonight. We’ve got to bounce back and put this behind us. It was a tough loss tonight. We didn’t have any defensive coverage."
    (on the Pacers) "They made shots tonight but we’ll bounce back.”
    “We knew Indiana was going to come out and play hard. They always do. They’re a talented team. We just have to put this game behind us and come out Friday and play better. In order for us to hold on to the eighth seed which we’ve had for a while now, we have to play with a sense of urgency over these last four games and we can’t afford to get complacent.”
    “Both teams came out on fire in the first quarter. Then we just kind of lost it. We need to try to focus on winning these last couple of games. We could have locked everything up today, but we fell short. Tonight our defensive effort was not up to par and that’s what caused us to lose this game more than anything.”