The energetic young point guard played nearly 29 minutes and produced a career-high 19 points in 6-of-10 shooting, including 5-of-7 from the 3-point line, adding three rebounds and three assists.
"We love winning. Losing is not any fun and I thought our guys did the things that were necessary in always a difficult venue to play at. We're very pleased. We had six or seven guys in double figures so we got contributions from all over the place."
  • Points in the paint: Pacers 40, Kings 36
  • Fast-break points: Pacers 13, Kings 10
  • Second-chance points: Pacers 17, Kings 6
  • Points off turnovers: Pacers 25, Kings 24
  • Starters scoring: Kings 69, Pacers 61
  • Bench scoring: Pacers 50, Kings 36
  • In the two games since switching to a small lineup, the Pacers have scored 233 points (116.5 per game), with 97 coming from the second unit – and 63 of those (32 by Shawne Williams and 31 by Travis Diener) have come from players that were out of the rotation with the previous lineup.
    The longest road trip of the season concludes Sunday in Oakland against Stephen Jackson, Al Harrington, Austin Croshere and the Golden State Warriors (9 p.m., FSN-Indiana, WFNI-AM 1070).
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    Diener's career-high sparks needed win

    At Sacramento | Jan. 12, 2008

    With the sudden change to a small lineup, it was somehow fitting the smallest of the Pacers played the biggest role.

    Point guard Travis Diener continued his emergence as a sparkplug off the bench, racking up a career-high 19 points off the bench as the Pacers snapped a three-game losing streak with a 111-105 victory over the Kings Saturday night in Sacramento.

    "The opportunities haven't been here that much this year," said Diener, who had played sparingly until the lineup change. "I haven't really shot the ball that well. Tonight, I got a couple of shots going and it felt good. The key is we won the game and snapped the losing streak and hopefully we can string together some wins now.

    "It means a lot. We try to come out and play hard every night. We're going through a bad stretch but the guys competed in Phoenix and we had a chance to win that game. Tonight, we got up and they came back and we showed the character to make enough plays in the fourth quarter to win the game."

    Indiana (17-21) also ended a seven-game road losing streak heading into the finale of the five-game trip Sunday night at Golden State.

    After suffering a sprained right ankle during Wednesday's 129-122 overtime loss in Phoenix – in which he scored a season-high 12 points in 14 minutes – Diener wasn't expected to play at all and was originally projected, in fact, to miss at least a week. But he didn't miss a beat, playing most of the second half in place of starter Jamaal Tinsley as the Pacers withstood several challenges from the Kings after building a 16-point first-half lead.

    "He must be a quick healer," said Coach Jim O'Brien.

    Though the Pacers never trailed, they had to withstand several challenges from the Kings (14-21), who had won their last two home games and welcomed back leading scorer Kevin Martin, who missed the previous 17 games with a groin injury. A lead that grew as large as 16 (65-49) late in the second quarter quickly shrank to one (71-70) after a 15-2 Sacramento run early in the third quarter as the Pacers – who shot 54 percent and committed just four turnovers in the first half – missed nine of their first 10 shots and committed eight turnovers.

    Enter Diener, who made three cold-blooded 3-pointers to kill the rally and push the Pacers' lead back to 86-78.

    "The last two games, he came in and sparked us," said O'Brien. "The tempo went up. He really does a nice job of hitting open threes and he also did a nice job of penetrating and finding open teammates. He was doing well so I decided to go with him. He got us the lead and I decided to stick with him down the stretch."

    The Kings again challenged with a 10-2 run early in the fourth quarter cutting the gap to 95-92 but this time it was Mike Dunleavy and Jermaine O'Neal who answered, combining for nine points in a 10-4 counter that made it 105-96 with 2:52 left. But the Kings weren't quite done, scoring seven in a row to close to 105-103 on Beno Udrih's jumper with 1:30 remaining.

    O'Neal made a pair of free throws to make it a four-point game then, after Martin missed a drive, Diener split a trap, drove into the lane and kicked out to a wide-open Danny Granger for the clinching 3-pointer.

    "The NBA's a game of runs," said Diener. "They're a good team, they're at home, they've got a great crowd; we knew they were going to make a run. It was a matter of us executing down the stretch and we were able to do that tonight."

    Seven players scored in double figures for the Pacers, led by Dunleavy with 23. In addition to Diener's 19, Granger scored 14; O'Neal 12 with seven rebounds, five assists and two blocks; Marquis Daniels 12 on 6-of-9 shooting; and Kareem Rush and Shawne Williams had 10 apiece.

    "We love winning," said O'Brien. "Losing is not any fun and I thought our guys did the things that were necessary in always a difficult venue to play at. We're very pleased. We had six or seven guys in double figures so we got contributions from all over the place."

    Martin led the Kings with 25, making his first seven shots but missing his last two in the final minute. Francisco Garcia had 22 points and 12 rebounds and Brad Miller produced 14 points, 15 rebounds and five assists.

    The small lineup appeared to take the Kings by surprise in the first quarter as the Pacers burst out of the gate not only with a high-octane offense but an active defense that came up with eight steals among Sacramento's 11 turnovers – five by Miller – as Indiana led 29-21 after one.

    Returning to action after missing the previous 17 games with a groin injury, Martin came off the bench to spark the Kings, who closed to 29-25 early in the second period but Marquis Daniels answered with eight quick points, including a pair of stunning dunks from the normally earthbound swingman, to quell that threat.

    Sacramento closed to 48-42 but the Pacers again responded, this time with a 17-7 run that stretched the lead to 16 and they headed into the locker room with a 65-53 lead.

  • O'Neal went through the Saturday morning practice and was cleared to return after missing the loss in Phoenix Wednesday with a sore left knee.
  • Former Pacers player and assistant coach Chuck Person is on his first season working under Kings Coach Reggie Theus. Person holds the Pacers' record for points against the Kings with 41 on Dec. 19, 1992 in Sacramento.
  • Ron Artest recently underwent surgery to remove bone chips from his left elbow and missed his eighth game in a row. The Kings also were without point guard Mike Bibby, who has yet to play after preseason thumb surgery.