Shook off a first-half ankle sprain to rack up a game-high 32 points on 10-of-16 shooting, including 4-of-5 from the 3-point line, adding six rebounds in another strong offensive performance.
Name Min. +/- Name Min. +/-
Marquis Daniels 12:51 -7 David Harrison 20:04 +12
Travis Diener 33:56 +9 Troy Murphy 39:52 +13
Ike Diogu DNP --- Jermaine O'Neal DNP ---
Mike Dunleavy 36:39 +5 Andre Owens DNP ---
Jeff Foster 33:26 -8 Kareem Rush 9:53 0
Stephen Graham DNP --- Jamaal Tinsley DNP ---
Danny Granger 39:15 +13 Shawne Williams DNP ---
Flip Murray 14:04 -2
Season plus-minus | Box score
  • Points in the paint: Pacers 42, Sonics 34
  • Fast-break points: Sonics 28, Pacers 8
  • Second-chance points: Pacers 22, Sonics 10
  • Points off turnovers: Sonics 17, Pacers 13
  • Starters scoring: Pacers 94, Sonics 73
  • Bench scoring: Sonics 34, Pacers 20
  • In their three-game losing streak, the Pacers were outrebounded by 37 and yielded 48 boards leading to 63 second-chance points for the opposition. They outrebounded Seattle 44-36 and limited the Sonics to a season-low five offensive boards.
    A two-game weekend road trip begins Friday in Dallas against Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavericks (8:30 p.m., FSN-Indiana, WFNI-AM 1070).
    Indiana 114, Seattle 107
    Pacers gain ground in playoff chase

    By Conrad Brunner | March 11, 2008

    When a team loses three in a row and actually gains ground in a playoff race, anything is indeed possible.

    The Pacers, 2½ games out of eighth place when the skid started and 2 back when it reached three, took a more conventional approach Tuesday night, beating Seattle 114-107 to clip another half-game, from the deficit. Mike Dunleavy bounced back from a second-quarter ankle sprain to score 32 points, Danny Granger added 23 and David Harrison had a career-high six blocked shots off the bench as the Pacers (25-39) moved 1½ games back of eighth-place Atlanta.

    "We believe that we're in a playoff race," said Coach Jim O'Brien. "We lost three games in a row and gained ground. I don't know how you do that but we did and we started out tonight I think two games out of the eighth spot. I don't know what the other teams did but we're in a position where we can pretty much control our own destiny and our guys know that and we talk about it often."

    To get there, it appears they'll need not only a healthy Dunleavy, but a string of comparably robust performances. Since the All-Star break, they've gone 4-7. In each of the four victories, Dunleavy has scored at least 30 points. He has seven 30-point games this season, in which the Pacers are 6-1.

    Dunleavy helped get the Pacers off to a quick start with 11 first-quarter points but left early in the second quarter after spraining his left ankle. He returned late in the half and took over in the third period, scoring 13 as the Pacers wiped out a 63-58 deficit and took an 86-77 lead.

    Dunleavy scored 18 of his 32 in the second half and finished 10-of-16 from the field, including 4-of-5 from the 3-point line.

    "Michael sprained his ankle pretty badly and limped to a very good second half," said O'Brien. "When he gets on fire he can put points up in a quick fashion and he did that again tonight and we needed that."

    Granger struggled much of the night but stepped up in the fourth quarter after Seattle closed to 98-93, converting a driving three-point play and following with a 3-pointer to put it away.

    "We needed a W and we got one," O'Brien said. "We're very happy to escape against a team that's really difficult to guard. Over six games on the road trip, Seattle has shot 50 percent so we're lucky to get away with a W."

    The Pacers also got a lift from Harrison, whose shot-blocking, rebounding and activity in the lane gave the team a much-needed frontcourt presence.

    "He did have an impact on the game," O'Brien said. "We defend at a very high level when David's in there. If he can keep out of foul trouble he changes shots, blocks shots, he had six blocked shots – that's pretty good. We miss the shot-blocking that we normally get with Jermaine (O'Neal) and David came and gave us a really solid 20 minutes of basketball."

    Troy Murphy continued his post-All-Star-break surge with 19 points, nine rebounds and four assists and Travis Diener had 11 points, nine assists and zero turnovers.

    Kevin Durant scored 27 to lead Seattle (16-48), which lost its fifth in a row.

    Listen to Coach O'Brien's postgame press conference

    “We needed a W and we got one. We’re happy to escape against a team that is difficult to guard. Mike (Dunleavy), Jeff (Foster), a bunch of guys gutted it out. David (Harrison) did have an impact on the game. He defended at a very high level. We miss shot blocking we usually get with Jermaine (O’Neal) and David gave us a solid 20 minutes tonight. When Mike gets going he can put up points in quick fashion. Keeping turnovers under 13 is very important for us. We believe we’re in a playoff race. We started out tonight two games out of the eighth spot and we’re in a position where we can control our own destiny.”
    “Glad to be in Indianapolis and getting the opportunity to help push this team to a playoff position. My legs are not under me yet. It will take awhile but I am sure that I will get there. I also will have to learn the offense being a backup point guard, you have to know what you are doing and how to get there. I think I am comfortable with the offense now. I need more time to get familiar with it. I think I can help this team as a backup point guard.”
    “We had a tough start tonight. Seemed like we couldn’t get on track and Coach O’Brien called a timeout, we went through some things and got us on track."
    (on Kevin Durant) "Durant can be and probably will be a great player. He has the tools to do it all. He will be tough."
    (Why is he driving to the bucket more?) "I am trying to drive to the basket and get inside more, which will open up my outside game. You have to be able to go both ways. We are pretty lucky to be only a game and a half out of a playoff spot right now. So we have to build on this and work hard the rest of the way. We have two really tough road games coming up. This was a good win but hopefully just one to build on.”
    “I just think they had more guys that stepped up and played well. We didn’t defend like we needed to. We couldn’t guard either point guard. Energy was not a problem tonight. We had an Indiana problem. Our guys competed a good offensive game but could not get a stop. Dunleavy, he’s a good basketball player. He had a very solid game. We just couldn’t stop him to that level we needed to. If you don’t guard you can’t win. Our perimeter defense was poor. We didn’t play terribly; they just stepped up better than we did.”
    (On the problem tonight) "They hit their shots. We didn’t guard as well as we should have. I don’t know how well we shot the ball but I think it was over 50%, which we’ve done like the last three games. So we just have to pick up our defensive intensity out there and we’ll be okay."
    (Is the long road trip wearing them down mentally?) "We are mentally tough. We have been on a long road trip before. It’s just a matter of us doing the little things on defense, like boxing out and fighting through screens. Like I said before, we’re shooting the ball well of late, 50% the last three games.”
    “We tried to come out and attack them and see how the game is going. All around what we tried to do was just keep attacking them. They play with a lot of freedom. They like to get their shots up as quick as they can and they were able to hit some good shots. We just didn’t get any stops. We have to come to compete. When you play this many games on the road it’s all you can do is be ready to compete.”