Making just his fourth appearance of the season and first since Dec. 11, Graham racked up a career-high 15 points in 18 minutes, hitting 7-of-11 shots and pulling three rebounds.
"The difference is we didn't defend at a level we have been defending at. We had a very poor defensive game. Granted, they have some players that make you look bad but we were a step slow all night. To our credit, we came back and had a chance to tie."
  • Points in the paint: Pacers 44, Kings 38
  • Fast-break points: Pacers 13, Kings 11
  • Second-chance points: Pacers 8, Kings 4
  • Points off turnovers: Pacers 24, Kings 9
  • Starters scoring: Kings 77, Pacers 70
  • Bench scoring: Pacers 34, Kings 33
  • Prior to Saturday night, Stephen Graham had played a total of nine minutes and scored 11 points, but he more than doubled those numbers with 18 minutes and a career-high 15 points.
    The Pacers begin a four-game, six-day road trip Monday with Jim O'Brien's first game back in Philadelphia since the 76ers fired him after he guided them to the their last playoff berth in the 2004-05 season (2 p.m., WFNI-1070 AM).
  • Postgame quotes
  • Coach O'Brien's postgame briefing
  • Plus-minus rankings
  • Game info
    Pacers can't complete comeback

    By Conrad Brunner | Jan. 19, 2008

    For the second game in a row, the Pacers rallied from a double-digit deficit in the fourth quarter. This time, however, they couldn't finish the deal.

    Scoring 11 in a row to cut a 99-86 deficit to 99-97, the Pacers had a chance to tie when Danny Granger pulled up for an open mid-range baseline jumper but it rimmed out and Sacramento was able to escape with a 110-104 victory Saturday night before 14,015 in Conseco Fieldhouse.

    “We got behind early, couldn’t seem to get back to where we wanted be," said Jamaal Tinsley, who returned to the starting lineup with 13 assists. "We’ve got to figure out how to stop getting ourselves in these deep holes. One thing that we know we have to do and we haven’t is play 48 minutes on both ends of the floor, on both sides of the ball. We’ve got to finish what we start.”

    The Pacers (18-23) reached the midpoint of the season five games below .500, third in the Central Division and ninth in the Eastern Conference and set to play at least the next two weeks without Jermaine O'Neal, who's sidelined with a bone bruise in his left knee.

    Granger led the scoring with 26, adding four steals and two blocked shots and Kareem Rush had 22. With Marquis Daniels out with swelling in his left knee, Indiana got an unexpected spark off the bench from Stephen Graham, who scored a career-high 15 points in 18 minutes. Jeff Foster had 11 points and 11 rebounds off the bench and Mike Dunleavy scored 15 with seven rebounds but shot 5-of-16.

    "I was very happy for Stephen Graham," said O'Brien. "He played exceptionally well and gave us a big lift. He constantly remains ready and has a lot of talent."

    Playing for the first time in 20 games, Graham had made just three appearances totaling 11 minutes for the season but hit the floor running, scoring 10 in the first half including a pair of dunks in a 12-0 second-quarter run that pushed the Pacers into a 36-31 lead.

    "It’s a step in the right direction for me, but we didn’t get the win," said Graham. "We’ve got to build from efforts from all of us. We still can’t seem to finish when we need to. I just hope that I can continue to play well and to help this team win some games. I would feel much better about my efforts had we won the game."

    After Granger's miss, the Pacers had one more opportunity. Dunleavy hit a 3-pointer to cut the deficit to 104-102 with 22 seconds left but despite instructions to trap the ball in the backcourt for eight seconds before fouling, Foster fouled Mike Bibby almost immediately and the Kings' point guard made both for a four-point margin with 21 seconds left.

    Mikki Moore scored 22 with 11 rebounds, Kevin Martin 20 and Beno Udrih 20 for the Kings (18-22), who've won five of seven. Ron Artest scored 15 off the bench but shot 5-of-14. Brad Miller had 11 points and 16 rebounds and Bibby scored 11.

    Artest, who played in Detroit Friday night, was booed throughout the game but kept his emotions in check.

    "You know, sometimes it’s not as fun coming back to a place you have played before, but I do enjoy Indiana," Artest said. "When we’re off the court I can be a little more laid back here but once I’m on the court it’s all business. Indy still does have a place in my heart."