7:00 PM ET, December 17, 2008
Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN
• The Pacers improved to 11-4 in their last 15 games against the Warriors, including two straight wins.
• Indiana forward Danny Granger, who scored 41 points Wednesday, has scored 20-plus points in 19 of 24 games this season and 30-plus points in seven of 24 games.
• Golden State has scored 100-plus points in 20 of its 26 games this season but has allowed 120-plus points in six of its last 10 games.
-- ESPN research
The Indiana forward scored 41 points in the Pacers' 127-120 victory Wednesday night. Most important, he scored 13 points in the final 6½ minutes to carry his short-handed team.
"He's an incredible player," Golden State coach Don Nelson said. "He's turning out to be one of the top players in the league. He's a very difficult guard.
"He's the man right now," Nelson said.
Granger scored a career-high 42 points against the Detroit Pistons on Friday night, but the Pacers lost. That didn't happen again, largely because he was 4-of-8 from the field and 8-of-8 at the line in the final period.
Granger, who signed a five-year extension worth up to $65 million earlier this season, knows that to truly be a leader, he needs to make the plays late in games, and they need to translate to wins.
"I always try to tell myself, 'In the fourth quarter, I have to be more aggressive than I have been throughout the game,' and it's been working well for me," Granger said. "I always want to take the big shot."
Granger also had 11 rebounds and six assists and made all 17 of his free throws.
"He's playing a well-rounded game," Indiana coach Jim O'Brien said. "He's more than just putting points on the board. I think he's doing an outstanding job of growing his game in more areas than just scoring."
Stephen Jackson, the forward the Pacers sent to Golden State two seasons ago after he wore out his welcome with off-the-court issues, finished with 20 points in Golden State's fourth straight loss.
It was the same old story for the Warriors -- a high-octane offensive performance wasn't rewarded because of the NBA's worst scoring defense. Indiana put up a season-high point total.
"I wouldn't say we let it get away," Nelson said. "I would say they seized the opportunity at the moment. We were competing. We missed a couple shots, they made a couple, that was the ballgame."
Indiana played without starters T.J. Ford and Troy Murphy. Ford hurt his left groin late Monday night in a win over the Washington Wizards. Murphy, who was part of the Golden State-Indiana trade, sat out because of a stomach virus.
O'Brien said it didn't matter.
"We do not dwell on people that are not in uniform," he said. "These guys are all professional, they're all waiting their turn."
Golden State led 103-101 before Granger made a turnaround jumper in the lane and a 3-pointer to put the Pacers ahead 106-103 with six minutes to play.
The Pacers kept the lead, but the game remained tight until the final minutes. Indiana's Stephen Graham made an acrobatic layup over Biedrins, who was playing with five fouls, to put the Pacers up 118-113.
After Biedrins made two free throws, Jack hit a 3-pointer to put Indiana up by six with 1:04 to play.
Belinelli answered with a 3-pointer, but Jack made two free throws with 22.6 seconds left to make it 123-118 Indiana.
Jackson made a layup to make it 123-120, but Granger made four free throws in the final 14 seconds to close the deal.
Indiana led 68-62 at halftime, but Golden State started off hot in the second half. A turnaround jumper by Belinelli tied the game at 81 halfway through the third quarter. A 3-pointer by Crawford gave Golden State an 84-83 lead, the first advantage for the Warriors since the first quarter. The Pacers countered, and Jack's putback with 5.5 seconds left in the third quarter gave Indiana a 95-93 lead at the end of the period.
O'Brien was pleased with Jack's effort. It was his first start since he was traded from Portland in the offseason.
"I think he played with a great deal of heart," he said. "Jarrett gives you everything he has every night out. He's a warrior."
Granger said he hopes the team is building a winning attitude.
"When you're losing, you get stuck in a losing mentality, and it's hard to break out of it. But when you're winning, you go into the game expecting to win. We have to develop that mentality."
Golden State forward Corey Maggette sat out because of a strained right hamstring. Golden State's leading scorer has played in just 16 of the team's 25 games. ... Biedrins and Foster were issued technical fouls for a skirmish under the basket in the second quarter. ... Indiana led 40-29 at the end of the first quarter. It was the most points the Warriors have allowed in a first quarter this season. ... Granger has made 43 straight free throws.
Team Stat Comparison
|FGM-FGA||45-100 (.450)||47-106 (.443)|
|3PM-3PA||12-28 (.429)||6-17 (.353)|
|FTM-FTA||18-23 (.783)||27-29 (.931)|
|Fast Break Points||19||34|
|Fouls (Tech/Flagrant)||19 (0/0)||18 (1/0)|