Pacers 115, Nets 102

Danny Granger and the Indiana Pacers didn’t underestimate the

New Jersey Nets.

Troy Murphy had 25 points and nine rebounds, and Granger scored

16 of his 22 points in the second half, leading the streaking

Pacers to a 115-102 victory over the NBA’s worst team Saturday

night.

“No sympathy,” Granger said about Nets (12-68). “It’s an NBA

game, and they’ve been playing well themselves.”

Brook Lopez had 20 points, and Yi Jianlian added 18 points and

seven rebounds for New Jersey, which had won five of its previous

nine games for its best stretch of the season. The Nets were trying

to win consecutive games for just the second time.

“We wore out a little bit,” New Jersey coach Kiki Vandeweghe

said. “The extra effort just wasn’t there in the second

half.”

The Pacers (32-48), on the other hand, continued their

last-season surge. They’ve won four straight games and 10 of 12.

Indiana has been out of the playoff picture for much of the

season.

“It just happened a little bit too late,” Granger said.

“We’ve shot the ball better, our defense has been a little better.

Our offense has really been helping us a lot, even through the

rough stretches when our defense was kind of bad.”

The Nets cut it to 90-83 early in the fourth quarter, but

Dahntay Jones’ 3-point play stopped their momentum. Terrence

Williams’ layup and free throw cut the deficit back to seven, but

the Pacers answered with Jones’ jumper and A.J. Price’s 3-pointer

to take a 100-88 lead with less than 8 minutes left.

“Ball pressure and good defense created good offense for us,”

said Jones, who finished with 18 points. “Chemistry is better for

us now. People are helping each other and playing better

together.”

The Nets shot nearly 67 percent from the field in the opening

quarter and took a 34-25 lead on Chris Douglas-Robert’s layup to

end the period. New Jersey extended the advantage to 12 in the

second quarter, but the Pacers chipped away and got to 60-56 on

Josh McRoberts’ dunk.

“I thought the game was lost at the end of the first half,”

Vandeweghe said. “The last two or three minutes we didn’t

capitalize and we struggled from there.”

Indiana shot 59 percent in the third quarter and was 4 of 8 from

3-point range to begin to take control. The Pacers tied it at 62 on

Granger’s layup, and Murphy’s jumper late in the period gave

Indiana an 88-76 edge.

“We just took it over right there,” Granger said of the third

quarter. “They had the game pretty much in hand up to that point.

Coach (Jim O’Brien) got on us at halftime and we picked up the

intensity.”

O’Brien didn’t want his team to overlook the Nets.

“I said to our guys, ‘They are tasting victory, they are hungry

and they have confidence,”’ O’Brien said. “They have solid

pieces. I don’t think they’re far away from being a playoff

contender.”

NOTES: Pacers G T.J. Ford (left groin) and F Tyler Hansbrough

(ear infection) did not play. … Nets F Jarvis Hayes (ankle) did

not play. .. Indiana swept the season series 4-0. The Pacers won

every game by at least eight points. … Nets G Courtney Lee

attended Pike High School in Indianapolis and went to college at

Western Kentucky. He finished with 15 points.