Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 2)

Series starts 2/21

Game 1: Tuesday, February 21st
Game 2: Friday, March 10th

Hornets 75

(29-24, 10-16 away)

Pacers 97

(27-23, 18-8 home)

    Coverage: FSMW

    7:00 PM ET, February 21, 2006

    Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN

    1 2 3 4 T
    NO 21 22 17 1575
    IND 23 27 26 2197

    Top Performers

    NO: C. Paul 27 Pts, 3 Reb, 6 Ast, 3 Stl

    Ind: D. Granger 22 Pts, 11 Reb, 3 Ast, 3 Stl, 1 Blk

    Rookie Granger's double-double leads Pacers past Hornets

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Indiana forward Danny Granger showed New Orleans guard Chris Paul that he's not alone in the Rookie of the Year race.

    Granger scored a season-high 22 points and had 11 rebounds Tuesday night to lead Indiana to a 97-75 victory over the Hornets, the Pacers' sixth victory in seven games.

    Paul led the Hornets with 27 points and six assists. He shot 8-for-15 from the field, but his teammates were 17-for-59.

    Granger and Paul were teammates in the Rookie Challenge during the NBA All-Star weekend. Granger said Paul deserves the credit he has received because the Hornets are 29-24 after going 18-64 last season.

    "Chris Paul, he's a great player," Granger said. "What he's done for that team, he's changed them from night and day. That's why he'll be a leading candidate. There's other rookies like myself, [Andrew] Bogut and [Charlie] Villanueva, but he's changed that whole team."

    Granger proved he can change his team, too. He shot 8-for-9 from the field and was 6-of-8 from the line against the Hornets.

    "Danny had a great night," Indiana coach Rick Carlisle said. "We're a different team when he plays the way he did tonight. We need him to continue to play at that level."

    Granger said he has finally adjusted to the speed of the NBA.

    "In the beginning, everything was going too fast," he said. "As I've been playing more and more, it has slowed down a little bit and I find myself playing better. The more time I get on the court, the higher my confidence goes."

    Anthony Johnson scored 19 points and Peja Stojakovic added 16 and nine rebounds for the Pacers. The Hornets shot 34 percent and were outrebounded 49-39.

    "We weren't ready to play, bottom line," New Orleans coach Byron Scott said. "We're a young team and we lacked to play a good game against a very good team in Indiana. We can't do that coming off the All-Star break. We have to be careful with other teams right behind us in our conference."

    David West, New Orleans' leading scorer, missed the game to be with his wife and newborn child. Desmond Mason was the only Hornets player other than Paul in double figures with 12 points.

    It was the Pacers' third victory by more than 20 points this month and their fifth win by 11 points or more in their last seven games.

    Indiana shot 50 percent in the first half to take a 50-43 lead at the break. Paul kept the Hornets in the game with 17 points.

    Indiana opened the third quarter with a 7-0 run that forced New Orleans to call a timeout. The Hornets could not recover as the Pacers held them to 6-for-22 shooting in the period to put the game away. Indiana led 76-60 after the third and maintained its lead in the fourth.

    The Pacers' reserves, led by Granger, outscored New Orleans' backups 46-27. Reserve Sarunas Jasikevicius added 10 points for Indiana, which heads to Detroit for a showdown with the Pistons on Thursday night. Indiana beat Detroit 93-85 on Feb. 4.

    Game notes

    The Pacers are 6-1 with the starting lineup of Jackson, Johnson, Stojakovic, Jeff Foster and Scot Pollard. This is the most consecutive games this season the Pacers have started the same lineup. The previous high was five, and that was the opening day lineup of Jackson, Ron Artest, Austin Croshere, Jermaine O'Neal and Jamaal Tinsley. The Pacers have used 21 starting lineups this season. ... Johnson is averaging 19 points in his last four games as a fill-in for Tinsley.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 75 97
    FGM-FGA 25-74 (.338) 39-84 (.464)
    3PM-3PA 3-10 (.300) 5-21 (.238)
    FTM-FTA 22-28 (.786) 14-21 (.667)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 11-39 16-49
    Assists 16 23
    Turnovers 16 12
    Steals 10 11
    Blocks 3 5
    Fast Break Points 8 8
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 16 (2/0) 21 (2/0)
    Largest Lead 5 24

    Top Performers

    No/oklahoma City
    Chris Paul Paul
    Points: 27
    Reb: 3
    Ast: 6
    Stl: 3
    Blk: 0
    Danny Granger Granger
    Points: 22
    Reb: 11
    Ast: 3
    Stl: 3
    Blk: 1