DANNY GRANGER
Returned to bench with a vengeance, scoring a season-high 21 points on 8-of-14 shooting, adding five rebounds, two assists and a blocked shot.
RICK CARLISLE
"They (the reserves) were playing well (in the fourth quarter) and we wanted to ride them as long as we could. I was ready to come back with the other guys if we needed to but they did a good job. There were some tough matchups defensively but our help was good, Jermaine (O'Neal) was an anchor in the middle and offensively they made plays."
Points in the Paint:
Pacers 42, Trail Blazers 32
Fast-break points:
Pacers 9, Trail Blazers 2
2nd-chance points:
Trail Blazers 18, Pacers 2
Points off turnovers:
Pacers 22, Trail Blazers 11
Starters scoring:
Trail Blazers 64, Pacers 59
Bench scoring:
Pacers 48, Trail Blazers 33
The Pacers are now 5-0 when Sarunas Jasikevicius scores in double figures and 5-1 when he plays at least 20 minutes.
Another back-to-back set, the sixth of the young season, concludes Wednesday night (10:30) in Golden State against Jason Richardson and the red-hot Warriors, coming off consecutive victories over Utah and San Antonio.
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  • INDIANA 105, PORTLAND 97
    Finishing Lineup Matters Most In Victory

    At Portland | Nov. 28, 2006


    For all the gnashing of teeth and wringing of hands about the starting lineup, the Pacers may well have discovered something more important Tuesday night: the finishing lineup is what really matters. With reserves scoring 10 points in a decisive 11-2 run midway through the fourth quarter, the Pacers pulled away to beat the Trail Blazers 105-97 in The Rose Garden.

    It was the sixth straight victory over the Blazers for the Pacers, who improved to 8-7 overall and 4-5 on the road. Portland dropped to 6-10 overall and 4-4 at home after its third consecutive loss.

    Coach Rick Carlisle implemented the sixth starting lineup of the season, returning Stephen Jackson to shooting guard and Jeff Foster to center, shifting Al Harrington to small forward and Danny Granger to the bench. While that moved had a positive effect on the starting lineup, it also trickled down to the bench as reserves Granger, Sarunas Jasikevicius and Darrell Armstrong were key figures while the game was decided down the stretch. Granger scored eight of his season-high 21 points in the fourth quarter, including a critical three-point play that made it 99-89 with 2:25 remaining.


    PLUSES

    The new lineup seemed to have more pieces in the right place. Granger took the demotion in stride and played his best overall game of the season. O'Neal produced 20 points, eight rebounds, six assists and five blocked shots in yet another strong all-around performance. Jasikevicius played a major role off the bench with 17 points, seven assists and four rebounds. Harrington broke out of his shooting funk, hitting 7-of-12 for 17 points with five rebounds, two assists and a block, and Jackson hit half his 10 shots to score 15, adding four assists. The Pacers shot well (.521 overall, 9-of-24 from the arc) and racked up a season-high 28 assists against just 13 turnovers. They also blocked eight shots as the defense limited Portland to .391 shooting.
    MINUSES
    Jamaal Tinsley missed all five of his shots but Portland's offensive rebounding was the biggest problem as the Blazers held a 47-34 edge on the boards and used 21 offensive rebounds to roll up an 18-2 advantage in second-chance points. Zach Randolph scored 30 but needed 27 shots (making 11) to get there, reducing his impact. He also had 11 rebounds and five turnovers. Jarrett Jack scored a career-high 21 points, adding six assists and five rebounds, and Travis Outlaw and Juan Dixon scored 12 each from the bench.
    MOMENTS
    The Pacers jumped out to a 16-8 start but nevertheless trailed after the first quarter (24-21) for the 12th time in 15 games. They did not, however, trail after any of the other three. They bridged intermission with a 15-4 run that opened a 61-50 lead midway through the third, but Portland countered with a 19-7 run, with Randolph doing much of the damage, to take a 69-68 lead.

    It remained close into the middle minutes of the fourth quarter when 3-pointers by Jasikevicius and Darrell Armstrong and a dunk by Maceo Baston sparked the 11-2 run that pushed the lead to 96-85. Portland closed to 96-89 when Granger came up with a fortuitous three-point play, regaining his errant pass on the rebound and driving for the score. Instead of a turnover that might've further reduced the margin, it was instead a 10-point game with 2:25 left. The Blazers cut it to 103-97 and had the ball in the closing seconds but Jack missed a 3-pointer and Jasikevicius closed it out at the line.


    TIDBITS
  • O'Neal, who was listed as questionable entering the game with a sore lower back, limped to the locker room midway through the third quarter with a sprained left ankle, the result of stumbling into photographers along the baseline after attempting to block a shot. After getting the ankle re-taped, he returned for the start of the fourth quarter.
  • Portland ranks last in the NBA in rebounds per game but beat the Pacers by 13 on the boards.
  • Baston's first field goal with the Pacers came in fitting fashion: he dunked a transition lob from Jasikevicius, re-enacting a scene that became familiar when the two were teammates with Maccabi Tel Aviv in Israel.