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Friday, Aug. 22, 2014

Granger's career-high halts Pacers' losing streak

Friday, January 4, 2008

By CLIFF BRUNT

AP Sports Writer

INDIANAPOLIS -- Danny Granger bounced back from one of the worst games of his career with one of his best.

The third-year forward tied a career high with 32 points and the Indiana Pacers beat the Atlanta Hawks 113-91 on Friday night to snap a five-game losing streak.

Granger, who tied his career-best points total on a dunk late in the fourth quarter, shot 10-for-15 from the field and had nine rebounds. The performance came two nights after he was held to six points on 2-for-9 shooting in a loss to Memphis on Wednesday.

"It was working tonight," Granger said. "I've been in a slump, or whatever you want to call it, but it's good to get back on track."

Granger also guarded Joe Johnson, the Hawks' leading scorer, for much of the night. Johnson had 26 points and 11 assists in a win over the Pacers on Dec. 26, but he scored just eight points this time.

Indiana forward Jermaine O'Neal appreciated Granger's all-around effort.

"It's definitely good to see him scoring," O'Neal said. "We need him to really lock in and bring that every single night for us. I think Danny did a great job, not only offensively, but he was very impressive defensively with Joe Johnson."

Mike Dunleavy had 23 points and 12 rebounds, and Kareem Rush scored 20 points for the Pacers.

It was Indiana's largest victory margin at home this season. The Pacers shot 13-for-25 from 3-point range and outrebounded the Hawks 49-35 to win before heading out on a five-game road trip.

Indiana coach Jim O'Brien said earlier in the day that no game is more important than any other, but his players disagreed.

"It becomes sort of mental to a point," Granger said. "We gave some games away to teams we probably should have beaten, but we got some good momentum going into the West Coast. Those losing streaks potentially ruin seasons, so I'm glad we snapped it."

Indiana scored a season-low 72 points in the loss to Memphis, but shot 48 percent against Atlanta. The Hawks gave the Pacers credit, but said they didn't offer much resistance.

"We didn't put the pressure on them defensively, and they were able to come down and get comfort jump shots," Josh Childress, who tied a career high with 26 points, said. "Once they blew open the lead, it was hard to catch up."

Josh Smith added 20 points for the Atlanta, which has lost three straight. The Hawks, one of the pleasant surprises of the NBA season, hope they're not falling back into their old ways.

"We had a terrible game tonight," Atlanta point guard Anthony Johnson said. "We didn't do anything well, in any phase of the game. In this league, there are nights like this that are always out there, always lurking. But to have this happen against a team that's lost five games in a row like the Pacers have ... definitely a setback for us."

Indiana led 39-37 in the second quarter before closing with a 15-6 run to take a 54-43 lead at halftime. Dunleavy had 15 points and 10 rebounds in the first half.

The Pacers started the second half on a 16-5 run that included eight points by Granger to take a 70-48 lead. Indiana extended that advantage to 87-61 by the end of the period.

Indiana's largest lead was 31 points in the fourth quarter.

Pacers point guard Jamaal Tinsley sat out his fourth straight game with a sore left thigh. It was the team's first win without him.

The Pacers often have given up big leads this season, but they put the pressure on in the third quarter and outscored the Hawks 33-18 in the period.

"We were so flat from the beginning," Hawks coach Mike Woodson said. "Offensively, we were struggling to score a little bit. We compounded it by not defending and rebounding the ball, and that's a bad combination. They were desperate for a win to get off that slide. They did what they had to do and we didn't respond."

Notes:

Indiana C David Harrison played after missing seven games with a sore back. He entered with 2:22 left in the first quarter, and finished with two points in seven minutes. ... Indianapolis Colts players Gary Brackett, Bob Sanders, Antoine Bethea, Ben Utecht and Marlin Jackson attended the game. They got a standing ovation when their presence was announced. ... Anthony Johnson, a former Pacer, started for the Hawks and finished with four points and one assist in 22 minutes. ... Indiana F Shawne Williams didn't play because of coaching decisions in two of the past three games. He went scoreless and fouled out in nine minutes against the Hawks.



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