DANNY GRANGER
Struggled with his shot (7-of-17) but scored 23 points, making 4-of-7 from the 3-point line, adding seven rebounds, four assists and a blocked shot in another solid all-around performance.
Name Min. +/- Name Min. +/-
Marquis Daniels 27:28 +21 David Harrison DNP ---
Travis Diener 24:19 +19 Troy Murphy 21:43 -2
Ike Diogu 5:51 +2 Jermaine O'Neal 17:56 +16
Mike Dunleavy 35:13 +10 Andre Owens DNP ---
Jeff Foster 25:49 +3 Kareem Rush 18:47 +14
Stephen Graham 3:40 +3 Jamaal Tinsley DNP ---
Danny Granger 32:43 +9 Shawne Williams 2:50 +4
Flip Murray 23:41 +1
  • Points in the paint: Pacers 38, Heat 24
  • Fast-break points: Pacers 13, Heat 0
  • Second-chance points: Pacers 24, Heat 9
  • Points off turnovers: Pacers 18, Heat 11
  • Starters scoring: Pacers 64, Heat 46
  • Bench scoring: Pacers 41, Heat 39
  • The Pacers have won 12 consecutive home games from the Heat during the regular season, 15 in a row including the playoffs, a streak that dates back to Dec. 31, 2001.
    The Pacers open a two-game road trip Wednesday in Boston against Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and the mighty Celtics (7 p.m., ESPN, FSN-Indiana, 1070 The Fan).
  • Audio: Jim O'Brien's postgame press conference
  • Season plus-minus rankings
  • Recap | Box score
  • Indiana 105, Miami 85
    O'Neal returns with a victory

    By Conrad Brunner | March 31, 2008


    The first 30 seconds were a little rough, a travel on a post-up on the offensive end, a foul on the defensive end. From then on, however, Jermaine O'Neal looked much more like, well, Jermaine O'Neal.

    Playing his first game since Jan. 16, O'Neal totaled 18 minutes off the bench and produced nine points, two rebounds, two assists and a blocked shot as the Pacers routed the D-League All-Star team posing as the Miami Heat, 105-85, Monday in Conseco Fieldhouse.

    "It's great to have Jermaine back," said Coach Jim O'Brien. "I thought he played really well. He probably thought he was rusty but he did some good things at both ends of the court. He's such a specimen – his quickness, speed, size. We tried to build a whole plan around him and it's so nice to have him back on the court."

    The most significant statistic of O'Neal's return was his plus-minus. The Pacers outscored the Heat by 16 points while he was on the floor.

    "I think a couple, three more practices and I will be much better with my timing, shots and overall game," he said. "Mentally when you get back into the mix like this you just don’t want to interrupt the progress that we have made."

    There's one other thing his teammates will have to reacquaint themselves with in practice: feeding the post.

    "We haven't had to pass the ball to the post very much," said O'Brien. "We need to practice that the next couple of days."

    O'Brien was asked where he thought the Pacers would be had O'Neal stayed healthy, rather than missing the last 33 games in a row and 40 overall.

    "We wouldn't be 12 games under .500, I can tell you that," he said. "I truly believe we'd be fighting for homecourt advantage, but we're not. Maybe we can fight for homecourt advantage next year."

    IMPACT
    The Pacers (31-43) won their second in a row and sixth in eight games but did not gain any ground on eighth-place Atlanta (34-40), which routed Memphis. Miami (13-61) lost for the 42nd time in 47 games.

    TURNING POINT
    Shortly after O'Neal checked in with 3:12 left in the first quarter, the Pacers surged, closing the period on a 9-2 surge and opening the second with another 9-2 burst with O'Neal scoring five and assisting on another as the lead grew to 36-27. Miami got as close as 56-50 early in the third quarter but Granger heated up to score 11 of his points in the period as the lead grew to 78-65 entering the fourth and an 8-0 run early in the final period put it away.

    HIGHLIGHTS
    Aside from O'Neal's return, the Pacers got solid all-around games from Danny Granger (23 points, seven rebounds, four assists, one blocked shot) and Mike Dunleavy (18 points, six rebounds, four assists) though neither shot well (a combined 12-of-33). Marquis Daniels scored 13 with six rebounds and three steals off the bench and Flip Murray and Travis Diener scored 10 apiece.

    LOWLIGHTS
    Miami shot the 3-pointer well (9-of-17), with Daequan Cook (16 points) going 4-of-8. Kasib Powell and Chris Quinn scored 15 each.

    NOTEWORTHY
  • The Pacers were 12-21 in the last 33 games without O'Neal. He's missed 40 games overall this season, and they've gone 17-23 in those.
  • David Harrison missed the game with an upper respiratory infection.
  • Steve Stipanovich was in attendance to see Miami guard Blake Ahearn, who attended the same high school (St. Louis DeSmet) as the former Pacers center.

    PACERS COACH JIM O'BRIEN
    “It was a really solid win. It was great to have Jermaine (O’Neal) back. I thought he played really well and did good things at both ends of the court. It’s nice to have him back on the court and moving well. I think we’re playing better defense at key times. I’ve been very pleased with our point guard play the last couple weeks. The last week and a half, Travis (Diener) has been outstanding. Coming off the bench, he energizes us. Flip (Murray) has been solid for us. He was a good pickup. I think Danny (Granger) is driving the ball well. He’s not forcing drives if he’s shut off. He’s finding teammates and he’s shooting the heck out of it. He’s becoming a heck of a basketball player. I’m very pleased with his development this year.”
    PACERS FORWARD DANNY GRANGER
    (On the season) "We watch, we play and we pray that Atlanta loses. We have to go out and give our best every game the rest of the way. We are more than happy to get J.O. (Jermaine O’Neal) back and I think his game will come with time. He really helped us out tonight. I think our overall game was decent and we just must continue. We must play strong and push ourselves the rest of the season. It’s a game at a time.”
    PACERS FORWARD JERMAINE O'NEAL
    (On his game) "I don’t really have the plays down the way that I would like to. I feel blessed to be able to get back out there on the floor, participate and help my teammates. It has been tough sometimes as I laid there on the training table. All kinds of things go through your mind. But with help of the trainers, coaching staff and teammates I got through it. I think a couple, three more practices and I will be much better with my timing, shots and overall game. Mentally when you get back into the mix like this you just don’t want to interrupt the progress that we have made.We think we can win in a tough environment and anywhere and that is what we must do for the rest of the season. Lastly and mostly, I want to thank the fans. They really made me feel at home tonight and I felt that they have accepted me as one of the sons of the city.”
    HEAT COACH PAT RILEY
    “The last five games it’s been about 21 or 17 rebounds that we’ve been outrebounded. Their team still has some life in the playoff hunt. I like Stephane (Lasme). I like Joel (Anthony). You have to believe you belong. We just don’t have enough firepower. We don’t have anyone to throw it to down in the post. We have four of our next five games at home.
    (On Daequan Cook) "The first three quarters he played well. He let Kareem Rush deny him.”
    HEAT GUARD DAEQUAN COOK
    (on the team’s goal) "Just to get a little better with every game. Like you said, we’re in no race for the playoffs so all we can do is get better every time we step on the court, stay focused and try to get ready for next year."
    (On his development) "I feel pretty good. Any player in this league is going to go through their ups and downs. But all you can do is try to get better as the season goes on. It’s been tough with us playing a little short handed. But I feel good with my progress.”
    HEAT GUARD CHRIS QUINN
    (On team’s focus) "Obviously, with the way the season is going right now it’s an opportunity for us to see what we can do. All we can do is try and compete and win. Concentrate on who we do have here, not who is not here. Prepare for every game and go in thinking we can win every game. Coach Riley has a lot of experience. He’s trying to stay as positive as possible. He keeps telling us to get ready, stay ready and play hard every night.”