Indiana Pacers Vs. New Jersey Nets: Danny Granger Lifts Pacers Past Nets Late

Jim MancariCorrespondent IMarch 21, 2011

Danny Granger rebounded from a tough first half to finish with 20 points.
Danny Granger rebounded from a tough first half to finish with 20 points.Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Though they showed some late fight, the New Jersey Nets dropped their third straight game, 102-98, to the Indiana Pacers at the Prudential Center in Newark.

The Pacers have now defeated the Nets seven consecutive times dating back to 2008. The Nets were without Deron Williams for the second game in a row.

Despite only scoring three points on 1-of-9 shooting in the first half, Pacers’ forward Danny Granger finished with 20 points, including a few big shots down the stretch.

The Pacers will retain their position as the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference with the victory.

Coming off a second half collapse against the Washington Wizards on Sunday, the Nets came out strong defensively, holding the Pacers to just 15 first quarter points. New Jersey led by as many as 12, but the Pacers cut the lead to four at halftime.

Indiana put together a 9-0 run early in the third quarter and established an eight-point lead at the end of three.

The Nets clawed back, but each time they did, Granger or Brandon Rush would hit a big shot to extend the Pacers’ lead.

New Jersey made their move late in the fourth quarter on the shoulders of Sasha Vujacic, who hit three three-pointers in the fourth.

The Nets found themselves down by just three with 13.5 seconds left. However, an ugly three-point attempt by Vujacic missed badly.

Darren Collision drilled both free-throws to reestablish a five-point lead. Sundiata Gaines answered right back with another three with 3.2 seconds remaining.

Once again, Collison hit both free-throws, which iced the game at that point. He recorded a double-double with 15 points and 12 assists.

Roy Hibbert led all scorers with 24 points on 10-of-14 shooting.

Brook Lopez led the Nets with 20 points, which marks the 11th straight game he had scored 20 or more points.

Gaines posted a new career-high of 18 points in just 23 minutes. Even without Deron Williams, Nets’ point guards scored 32 points—18 from Gaines and 14 from Jordan Farmar.

The Nets travel to Cleveland to take on the Cavaliers Wednesday evening. New Jersey will still be without Williams as the playoff push appears to be losing steam.