Pacers end 5-game skid with 93-88 win over Nets

MICHAEL MAROT AP Sports Writer Published:

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Danny Granger delivered when Indiana needed him most Thursday.

The Pacers' leading scorer played through a sprained left ankle to score 32 points and helped struggling Indiana snap a season-worst five-game losing streak by beating struggling New Jersey 93-88.

Granger missed Wednesday's loss at Cleveland and the final three quarters of Tuesday's loss to Miami because of the injury, and without him, the Pacers just weren't the same.

The biggest questions heading into the Nets game were how long Granger could play on his gimpy ankle and how effective he would be. It didn't take him long to prove he was just fine.

Granger made 10 of 20 shots, 8 of 9 from the free-throw line and grabbed five rebounds in a game the Pacers (18-12) desperately needed to win.

Deron Williams scored 29 points and Kris Humphries had 24 points and 10 rebounds to lead New Jersey (8-23), not quite enough to snap a skid that hit eight straight and is the longest for the franchise since an eight-game skid from Nov. 30-Dec. 14, 2010.

The difference Thursday: Granger.

He started a 15-0 run in the first half to rally the Pacers early, then made the key shots in a 9-2 fourth-quarter spurt that finally gave Indiana control. Indiana closed it out by making six of its last seven free throws.

New Jersey sure didn't make it easy, though.

Humphries controlled the inside early, making his first six shots and scoring 12 points in the first quarter as the Nets built a 29-18 lead.

But when Humphries went to the bench after picking up his second foul with 47.4 seconds left in the first, Granger asserted himself and the Nets collapsed.

The Pacers forward hit a 3-pointer to start the 15-0 run, and Paul George ended with another 3 to give Indiana a 33-29 lead.

From that point, the teams were locked in a virtual stalemate.

Indiana did manage to take a 50-44 lead with 1:44 left in the half on to go on Roy Hibbert's layup, and the Nets answered with a three-point play and a 3-pointer from Anthony Morrow in the final 38 seconds to tie it at 50 at the break.

Things didn't change much in the second half.

Neither team led by more than four points in the third quarter, and after the Nets took a 65-64 lead after three, the Pacers took the lead for good on George's 21-footer with 8:15 left in the game.

Granger followed that with two free throws, then made two more free throws after George's steal to give Indiana a 75-69 lead with 7:05 to go. The Pacers extended the lead to 88-79 and fended off a late charge by New Jersey.

Indiana's George Hill missed his 11th straight game with a chip fracture in his left ankle.

New Jersey played without Shawne Williams, who missed his second straight game with a sprained left shoulder and also has a sore left foot and knee.