Postgame Report: Pacers 108, Warriors 94 091111
Player of the Game
Snapped out of his brief shooting funk with 31 points on 12-of-24 shooting, adding a career-high 16 rebounds, three assists and two blocked shots in 42 minutes.
Stat of the Night
The Pacers have their first three-game winning streak since precisely one year ago, Nov. 8-12, 2008, when they beat the Nets twice and the Thunder.
News & Notes
Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, Marquis Daniels and the Boston Celtics make their only visit of the season to Conseco Fieldhouse on Saturday (7 p.m., Fox Sports Indiana, 1070 The Fan).
Live game blog
| Photo gallery
| Box score | Recap
Nov. 11, 2009 at Conseco Fieldhouse
Pacers 108, Warriors 94
Granger scores 31, defense again stout as Pacers win 3rd straight
By Conrad Brunner
There have been two constants with the Pacers this season: defense and injuries. Both were once again evident in their 108-94 victory over the Warriors Wednesday in Conseco Fieldhouse.
In their three-game win streak, the Pacers have held each of their opponents to fewer than 100 points. It should be noted that two of those, the Warriors and Knicks, rank among the league's most explosive offensive teams.
And they lost yet another player to injury when T.J. Ford grimaced after a pump-fake midway through the first quarter, called a 20-second timeout and headed straight to the locker room with back spasms. His long-term prognosis is uncertain but with Ford, Troy Murphy (back), Danny Granger (heel), Mike Dunleavy (knee), Luther Head (foot), Brandon Rush (ankle), Travis Diener (toe) and Jeff Foster (ankle) all battling injuries of varying severity, Coach Jim O'Brien had to call off practice Thursday.
"Frankly, we wouldn't be able to field enough guys to practice with," he said, rubbing his temples. "That's how banged-up we are right now."
When Ford left the game, Earl Watson stepped in and performed well, scoring 16, making all three of his 3-point attempts, adding six rebounds, three assists and three steals. His play at both ends was central to the Pacers' cause, as was that of Granger. Battling an early-season shooting funk, Granger scored 31 points on 12-of-24 from the field, adding a career-high 16 rebounds, three assists and a pair of blocked shots.
"We did some positive things tonight," said O'Brien. "Earl really stepped up and led us. You don’t like T.J. (Ford) to go down, but it’s nice to know you’ve got somebody like Earl to come in and play the way he played. He’s been a breath of fresh air. Danny played within himself. I think he moved well and he passed well, especially in the first half. He scored, distributed and rebounded. He played a very solid brand of basketball. "
The defense continued to show its mettle, as well. The Pacers controlled the first half, building a 64-47 lead at the break and were up by as many as 21 in the third quarter before the Warriors (2-5) dug in and tried to find enough traction to come back. They started to attack the basket more frequently, extended the defensive pressure and kept chipping away until the lead was all the way down to 98-91 on a dunk by Monta Ellis with 2:55 left.
But they would get no closer as the Pacers came up with big stops and Granger scored six of the final eight.
“We really take pride in our defense. We all help each other out," said Granger. "It’s something that we’ve worked on in practice and it seems like it’s starting to come together."
As for his offensive game, Granger got himself going by keeping the jumper on the shelf in the early going. He passed, he rebounded, he moved without the ball, he drove aggressively to the rim. Thus established, the jump shot followed.
"Sometimes it takes time to get into the flow of the game," he said. "Everybody goes through a slump occasionally but I know if I keep putting it up sooner or later it’s going to all come together and I hope tonight is a good indicator of what I’m going to do from here on out. "
The Pacers (3-3) made a positive impression on the Warriors.
“I thought Indiana guarded us well. They took our shots away," said Coach Don Nelson. "(Roy) Hibbert was doing a nice job. I’ve always been a fan of Tyler Hansbrough. I think he’s going to be a great player. Larry Bird made probably the best pick in the draft. I give the Pacers credit. "
The Warriors were not without dramatic subplots, the feature being the relationship between Nelson and Stephen Jackson, whose agent recently went public with scathing criticism of the coach in an effort to help facilitate his client's wish to be traded. Jackson played just 18 minutes against the Pacers, with Nelson saying a back injury was the limiting factor.
"I’m fine," Jackson said. "My back is not sore at all. Maybe just a little scratch. I just want to play regardless of where I’m at, I want to play. But I have no control over that. I don’t care where I’m at, whether I’m in Africa or wherever, I want to play. Everybody knows the situation here. I think everybody expects me to blow up or something, but I’m not going to do that. I respect the coach always."
The Pacers are not without their problems but at least that one is long gone.