INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The Indiana Pacers don’t intend to let Miami and Chicago pull away for a two-team race in the Eastern Conference.
Danny Granger scored 25 points to help Indiana beat the Golden State Warriors 102-78 Tuesday night for their fifth straight win.
The Pacers wanted to set the tone for the rest of their season, and this was the start they were looking for.
“We came out with a killer mentality and continued to play that way all night,” said Indiana forward Tyler Hansbrough, who had 15 points and nine rebounds. “We came to play.”
All-Star Roy Hibbert added 12 points and nine rebounds, Paul George had 11 points and nine rebounds, Darren Collison also scored 11 points and David West had 10 points and seven boards for Indiana, which remained in third place in the East.
The Pacers topped 100 points for the fourth straight game after doing so just six times before the current stretch.
“We got a lot of deflections and a lot of steals, a lot of fast break points, and typically, when we get a lot of fast break points, we usually win,” Granger said.
Monta Ellis and Brandon Rush each scored 14 points for the Warriors, who finished with season lows in points and field-goal percentage (.341).
“Embarrassing,” Golden State coach Mark Jackson said. “We got outworked. We did not take care of the basketball. We allowed them to get going in transition. Disappointing part is that we allowed our inability to make shot to affect the way we defended.”
Golden State guard Stephen Curry sat out with a strained tendon in his right foot. The Warriors missed the 45-percent 3-point shooter — they made just 1 of 17 3s in the first three quarters.
“That’s not us,” Rush said. “I think we’re one of the best 3-point shooting teams in the league, and tonight was not one of our nights.”
David Lee, who had averaged 19.3 points per game, finished with 12 points and five turnovers. Indiana shut down the league’s No. 5 scoring offense, which had averaged 99.2 points per game.
“Like coach said after the game, if anyone thought they played well tonight, they’re kidding themselves,” Lee said.
The Pacers led 52-38 at halftime as Golden State posted its second-lowest point total in a first half this season.
“We wanted to come in and get the post-All-Star season started in the best fashion that we could, and we knew that Golden State was a very potent team and could score a lot of points, so we just had to jump on them early,” Granger said.
A 3-pointer by George early in the second half pushed Indiana’s lead to 57-40, and a reverse layup by Granger upped the margin to 19. A free throw by George gave Indiana a 20-point lead for the first time, and a putback dunk by Hibbert on a miss by Granger forced the Warriors to call timeout.
Golden State missed four of its first five shots after halftime to fall behind 62-40. A 3-point play by Granger pushed Indiana’s lead to 77-47.
“They came out with a lot of intensity,” Ellis said. “Made a lot of shots, got out there and ran, and they won the ball game. You can call it what you want to, but at the end of the day, we didn’t come out and do what we needed to do to come out and win.”
Granger scored 15 points on 6-for-9 shooting in the third quarter. The Pacers shot 12 for 19 as a team in the period while holding the Warriors to 7-for-21 shooting.
“He was on fire, so we kept going to him,” Hibbert said. “Just like any other night. If I’m getting going, or D-West (David West) is going, they’re going to keep feeding us.”
The end result: a front-row seat for all five starters for the entire fourth quarter.
“Anytime that happens, that’s great,” Hibbert said. “That’s not going to happen all the time.”
NOTES: Warriors coach Jackson, a former Pacers player, was cheered loudly during pregame introductions. … Indiana took a 10-0 lead early as Golden State missed its first nine shots. … Ellis made a bank shot as time expired at the end of the first quarter to cut Indiana’s lead to 24-21. … Ellis shot 1-for-6 in the second half. .. Charles Jenkins, who started for Golden State in place of Curry, scored two points on 0-for-5 shooting. … Indiana G George Hill had two points on 1-for-6 shooting in his second game back from a chip fracture in his left ankle.