By CLIFF BRUNT
AP Sports Writer
INDIANAPOLIS -- Danny Granger scored 26 points and the Indiana Pacers beat the New Jersey Nets 123-115 on Friday night to halt a two-game losing skid and boost their playoff hopes.
Troy Murphy had 21 points and 17 rebounds for Indiana after missing the previous game with strep throat. Mike Dunleavy added 19 points for the Pacers, who avenged a loss to the Nets on Wednesday.
Vince Carter scored 33 points, Devin Harris scored a career-high 27 and Josh Boone had 15 points and 16 rebounds for the Nets, who are just a game ahead of the Pacers after the loss. Both teams are chasing Atlanta for the eighth playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
Indiana held New Jersey to 8-for-24 shooting in the fourth quarter. The Pacers shot 14-for-25 from 3-point range in the game to earn a split in the season series.
Indiana opened the second half on an 8-0 run, including two 3-pointers by Murphy, to take a 64-63 lead. The lead see-sawed throughout the period until Travis Diener hit a mid-range jumper in the closing seconds to give the Pacers a 92-91 lead heading into the fourth. Carter scored 17 points in the quarter, and Granger had 12.
Dunleavy made a short jumper, then a 3-pointer at the start of the fourth to give the Pacers a 97-91 lead.
New Jersey closed to within 104-102, but back-to-back buckets in close by Marquis Daniels made it 108-102 with 2:40 to play.
Granger fouled out with 1:47 to go, and Carter made two free throws after the foul to cut Indiana's lead to four. Granger's replacement, Kareem Rush, hit a 3-pointer with 1:19 to play to boost Indiana's lead to 112-104.
The Pacers led by 14 points in the second quarter, then went cold. The Nets closed the half on a 28-7 run to lead 63-56 at the break.
Indiana F Jermaine O'Neal said he expects to be ready to play early next week after missing 33 straight games with a bone bruise on his left knee. ... Dunleavy tipped in a shot by a New Jersey player in the third quarter. It was credited to Boone. ... Harris averaged 24.3 points and 9.7 assists in three games against the Pacers this season. ... The Pacers are 5-3 with Flip Murray as their starting point guard.