Basketball: Granger’s 31 points lead Pacers past Warriors
INDIANAPOLIS – Danny Granger’s swagger is back.
Granger scored 31 points and grabbed a career-high 16 rebounds to help the Indiana Pacers beat the Golden State Warriors 108-94 on Wednesday night for their third straight win.
Granger had shot 35 percent in his previous four games, but went 12 for 24 against Golden State and looked more like the ultra-confident All-Star who emerged last season.
“I just tried to switch it up,” he said. “Sometimes, if I hoist a few threes and miss them at the beginning of the game, I kind of start off bad. I started trying to take it to the goal first. I got a layup, hit a few mid-range jump shots. I tried to stay away from a whole lot of 3-pointers. It was effective.”
The Pacers are on their longest winning streak in a year, and Granger predicted that the run would continue Saturday against the Boston Celtics.
“We’re going to make it four against Boston,” he said. “That’s the plan.”
Granger’s rebounds were important because forward Troy Murphy, Indiana’s No. 2 rebounder, sat out for the third straight game with a bruised lower back.
“Troy is such a dominant rebounder, a lot of us sometimes forget to rebound,” Granger said. “With him out, I was always around the ball, and I just gobbled up a lot of them.”
Roy Hibbert and Earl Watson each added 16 points for the Pacers. Guard T.J. Ford left the game in first quarter with back spasms and did not return.
Corey Maggette led the Warriors with 21 points, and Anthony Randolph added 17 points and 13 rebounds.
Golden State couldn’t take advantage in the fourth quarter when Indiana’s shooting faltered. The Warriors shot 39 percent in the fourth quarter and made just 3 of 8 free throws in the final 12 minutes.
“We just have to get better,” Golden State coach Don Nelson said. “We’ll go back to the drawing board.”
Strong defense has been the constant during Indiana’s win streak. The Pacers have held their past three opponents to 90 points per game. Golden State had scored 146 points in a win over Minnesota on Monday.
“It’s great, especially Golden State,” Granger said. “Regardless of their record, they put up a lot of points. It says something about how our defense is improving.”
Pacers rookie Tyler Hansbrough had 11 points and eight rebounds in 16 minutes, but he shot just 3 for 12 from the field.
Indiana shot 52 percent and led 64-47 at halftime. Indiana led 79-59 late in the third quarter, but the Warriors ended the third quarter on an 11-5 spurt to cut their deficit to 84-70.
Golden State came within 98-91 on a highlight-reel dunk by Ellis, but the Warriors got no closer.
Former Pacer Stephen Jackson scored seven points for the Warriors. He was booed loudly during pregame introductions because of his past troubles with the law and his role in the brawl between Pacers players and Pistons fans in 2004.
Jackson played just 18 minutes and finished with seven points on 3-for-10 shooting. He sat out the entire fourth quarter.
“He’s got a sore back or something,” Nelson said. “I didn’t think he was moving very well. I didn’t think he moved very well in practice this morning. I didn’t expect much from him, but he gave me what he had.”
Jackson denied Nelson’s claim that he was hurt, saying he just had a scratch. Golden State’s No. 2 scorer was unhappy with his playing time, but said he respected Nelson’s decision.
“Regardless of where I’m at, I want to play,” he said. “I have no control over that. I want to play. Regardless of if I’m in Africa, wherever, I want to play. I could have did more than what I did tonight.”
Jackson said he liked the moves the Pacers have made since trading him in 2007.
“They are going young,” he said. “They’ve got some nice pieces they are putting around Danny. It’s going to take some time, but they’ll be OK.”
The Pacers have followed three double-digit losses with three double-digit wins.
“We’re finally coming together,” Watson said. “Defensively, we’re doing a lot of good things. Offensively, we’re sharing the ball. We’ve still got a lot of room to grow, so we haven’t peaked yet, and that’s the exciting thing about us.”
Notes: Pacers coach Jim O’Brien said Murphy could play Saturday against Boston. … Other Pacers who missed the game were C Jeff Foster (ankle), G Mike Dunleavy (knee) and G Travis Diener (foot). … Watson hit a 30-foot jumper at the first-quarter buzzer to give the Pacers a 32-28 lead. … Hansbrough committed three fouls in the first quarter.