Pacers 102, Kings 95
After being contained in the first half, Danny Granger had a strong second half to keep the Indiana Pacers on a roll at home.
Granger scored 25 of his 33 points in the second half, leading the Indiana Pacers to a 102-95 victory over the Kings on Tuesday night for their eighth straight home win.
The Pacers' swingman went 10 of 14 from the field, including 3 of 5 from 3-point range, in the second half.
``It's not surprising that Granger can go off. He's been doing that to everybody,'' Sacramento coach Paul Westphal said. ``But it's disappointing we didn't do a better job of controlling him.''
Granger is averaging 31.2 points in his past seven games, including a career-high 44 in a victory over Utah. The Pacers have won six of seven.
``We made it a point to pick it up and play with a little more energy in the second half,'' he said. ``We moved the ball well, got stops, got boards and got the win. This is the way we would like to play for the rest of the year.''
Troy Murphy added 19 points and 13 rebounds, and Roy Hibbert and Earl Watson each scored 10 for the Pacers, who overcame a 15-point deficit in the first half to improve to 28-47. They had their five-game winning streak snapped at Atlanta on Sunday.
``We continue a very nice run at home,'' Indiana coach Jim O'Brien said. ``It's nice to establish a home-court advantage. The guys are enjoying winning, obviously.''
Jason Thompson and Beno Udrih each had 18 points, and Carl Landry finished with 17 points and 10 rebounds for Sacramento (24-51), which has lost five straight. Rookie of the Year candidate Tyreke Evans, who missed the previous five games due to a concussion, had 17 points, 10 assists, seven rebounds and four steals.
``We didn't come out with the same energy we had in the first half,'' Evans said. ``They were the home team and took advantage of it.''
The Pacers pushed a three-point lead to 77-70 on Granger's two baskets to begin the fourth quarter. Sacramento cut the deficit back to three, but consecutive 3-pointers by Granger and Murphy extended the advantage to 85-76. Following a Kings basket, Indiana scored the next seven points to go ahead 92-78 with 6 minutes left.
``I think we've concentrated a little more, and our effort and hard work to knock down shots has resulted in (wins),'' Murphy said. ``This is a team that has a lot of talent and didn't do that well the first part of the year.''
The Kings controlled most of the first half, taking their biggest lead at 50-35 on Landry's basket in the second quarter. Indiana cut the deficit to seven on Solomon Jones' two free throws late in the period, but Spencer Hawes' jumper gave Sacramento a 56-47 advantage at the break.
The Pacers began the third quarter with an 11-2 run to tie the score at 58-all. Granger's 3-pointer extended the lead to nine later in the period, but the Kings got within 73-70 on Landry's free throw.
``They gave us chances, but we couldn't hold it,'' Westphal said. ``We needed to do a better job of controlling Granger and executing our offense.''
Notes: Pacers G T.J. Ford (left groin) and F Tyler Hansbrough (ear infection) did not play. ... University of Texas men's basketball coach Rick Barnes sat courtside. ... Landry, a former Purdue player, has been impressed with Butler's run in the NCAA tournament. The Bulldogs face Michigan State in the national semifinals Saturday at nearby Lucas Oil Stadium. ``I think it's good for the state and definitely for the city of Indianapolis,'' he said. Landry, who played against both schools while at Purdue, expects a close game this weekend. ``It will be a grind-it-out, probably one or two-possession game at the end,'' he said. ``I'm going with Michigan State. They always have a good year, they have a great coach.''