Granger leads Pacers past Clippers
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- First, there was a layup.
Then, there was a 30-foot 3-pointer. Then another layup.
In a 2-minute span in the second quarter, Leandro Barbosa showed Indiana Pacers fans why the team traded for him last week. Barbosa scored 12 points in 18 minutes in his Pacers debut, and Indiana beat the Los Angeles Clippers 102-89 on Tuesday night.
Barbosa, acquired in a trade with Toronto, relishes his role as a reserve on what he considers a promising team.
"I think my teammates really helped me to be out there and be comfortable," he said. "I'm very happy to get the first win at home. I'm very excited to come in and play with the second group. It's the energy group and they run like crazy, so it was enjoyable."
Even though Barbosa is in his ninth year, he was concerned about fitting in on a team that had been successful before he arrived.
"I was nervous," he said. "As soon as I got the first basket, I was OK to finish the game."
Reserves Barbosa, Tyler Hansbrough and George Hill led a bench that outscored the Clippers' reserves 50-23. Hansbrough scored 17 points and Hill had 15.
Hansbrough was glad to see Barbosa get hot right away.
"I think Leandro is going to be a big lift for us, he's just going to feed into the energy that I bring off the bench, and the fast break style we bring this year," Hansbrough said.
Hill made 6 of 7 shots and had six assists.
"I think George Hill was definitely the game-changer tonight," Los Angeles guard Chris Paul said. "I don't remember him missing. He shot lights out."
Hansbrough made 7 of 10 field goals, helping the reserves make 21 of 35 shots. The bench supported Danny Granger, who led the way with 25 points.
Granger was thrilled to see the bench perform so well.
"They kind of came in like a pit bull tonight," he said. "When you have a group that plays really well together and you have scorers and you have rebounders on the second unit, that's really a luxury a lot of teams don't have."
Blake Griffin had 23 points and 10 rebounds, and Paul added 16 points and eight assists for Los Angeles. The Clippers made just 9 of 20 free throws while the Pacers made 24 of 26. Griffin made 2 of 7.
"We have to keep trying to get better," Paul said. "The free-throw line is where you can win or lose games. We have to get better as a team."
It was a chippy game in which players had to be separated several times but no punches were thrown. Hansbrough and Griffin were involved in the most intense confrontation.
"It was nothing," Hansbrough said. "It was a just a physical game. Some things happened, so that was that."
Granger had been in a scoring slump, managing just 20 points combined in consecutive losses to the New York Knicks. He shot 7 for 17 against the Clippers, but added eight rebounds and made all eight of his free throws.
Indiana led 54-46 at halftime on the strength of 32 points from its bench. Hansbrough had 15 points and Barbosa added nine.
Los Angeles got going early in the third quarter. Griffin's two-handed jam off a lob from Paul brought the crowd to life and left the backboard shaking. Paul followed with a 3-pointer and a jumper that cut it to 56-55. The Clippers tied it at 62 on Nick Young's 3-pointer.
Hibbert had a three-point play, and Granger hit a pair of 3-pointers to give the Pacers a 71-62 lead. The Pacers held the Clippers scoreless for 4:10 during the 11-0 run.
Indiana led 78-66 at the end of the third quarter. Granger scored 10 points in the period, and the Pacers held the Clippers to 8-for-22 shooting in the quarter.
A 3-point play by Barbosa pushed Indiana's lead to 90-72 with just under 8 minutes to play. The Clippers rallied once more, but Hill's 3-pointer with just over 3 minutes left pushed Indiana's lead to 98-84.
"We just stopped making shots," Griffin said. "A lot of shots that we normally hit did not go down, and that's going to happen. That's why we need to rely on our defense, and it hasn't really been there. That's what's going to happen until we get it figured out."
NOTES: Barbosa entered the game with 2:14 left in the first quarter. His first basket was a layup with 11:17 left in the second quarter. ... Pacers F Lou Amundson went from scoring a career-high 21 points against Portland on March 13 to going scoreless in back-to-back games. ... Griffin made a 3-pointer as the shot clock expired in the first quarter, just his second 3-point goal of the season in 10 attempts. ... Pacers G Dahntay Jones drew a technical foul in the second quarter. ... Young got his first start for the Clippers since moving from Washington to Los Angeles as part of a three-team trade. He finished with 13 points on 5-for-13 shooting.