Pacers 102, Kings 95: Granger Scores 33, Pacers Shake Off Sluggish Start To Beat Kings

The Indiana Pacers appeared to be in full tank mode in the first quarter against the Sacramento Kings, but of course we know that wasn't the case. So without that excuse they were just flat, lifeless, awful.

Pick your favorite description for letting the Kings jump out to an early lead and make it look easy along the way. Tyreke Evans wasn't making shots by he still made the game look easy and a triple-double seem like a foregone conclusion.

The Kings were up 15 midway through the second quarter, but then the Pacers started to ease their way back into the game. There was no definitive spark to ignite the rally but once shots started to fall and the Kings started to stumble.

Suddenly then the Pacers had pieced together a 38-16 run that put the home team up 69-60 midway through the third quarter. The Kings eventually stopped the bleeding to close the third with a run that made it look like we might have a tight one down the stretch.

But close games are so last year.

The Kings would get no closer than three points and a 13-2 run, capped by a 3-pointer from A.J. Price after the ball swung around the perimeter, gave the Pacers all the cushion they would need to close out the win, 102-95.

The win was Jim O'Brien's 100th as coach of the Indiana Pacers, a milestone he deemed "irrelevant" after the game. "The fact I had no idea tells you how irrelevant it is," O'Brien said.

Seems like a sage answere considering JOB also has 139 losses to his credit with the Pacers. Unfortunately, as irrelevant as the milestone may be in JOB's coaching career, the actual win itself is equally irrelevant since it leaves the Pacers in the 10th spot in the upside-down standings after the Clippers dropped another game last night.

At least they played well.

More thoughts and observations on the win after the jump.

  • Danny Granger finished the night with 33 points to cap another efficient scoring effort from the Pacers lead dog. Granger only shot 20 times and made 4 of 7 three-point attempts and score 25 second-half points. In fact, at the break Granger had only shot the ball six times.
  • Interesting backcourt matchups to start the game. While Brandon Rush guarded Tyreke Evans and Earl Watson, Beno Udrih, the Kings flipped it when they were on defense with Evans covering Watson and the ball and Udrih on Rush. Smart move since Rush wouldn't be taking Udrih in the post.
  • How come I often hear about Evans needing a true point guard so he can play off the ball? He struggled at times tonight, but also showed signs of being a beast with the ball in his hands running the show. The Pacers did a good job slowing him down, but he still finished with 17 points, 10 assists and 7 rebounds. He also had 7 turnovers which helped keep the Pacers going.
  • A couple of those turnovers were courtesy of Roy Hibbert jumping out to defend a high ball screen. Hibbert cleaned up a steal of Tyreke Evans and took two dribbles and a few very long strides to beat Evans to the hoop for a layup. Roy tumbled into the crowd after making the bucket but was able to hustle back on defense and arrive in time to grab the next available defensive rebound. Very nice effort which was desperately needed at that point in the game. Later in the fourth quarter, Hibbert picked Evans again, forcing Evans to foul the big fella before he started galloping the other way.
  • Middle of second quarter, A.J. Price drove baseline and then found a wide open Brandon Rush set up in the opposite corner. Rush took the pass and promptly splashed the corner shot, but his toe was on the line so an open 3-pointer becomes a two. Little things like that add up over the long haul and highlight the difference between a winning and losing streak.
  • Troy Murphy put up another double-double with 19 points and 13 rebounds. I see him make the threes. I notice a lot of his rebounds. Still, these numbers seem to pile up unnoticed. Maybe it's just me.
  • Former Purdue Boilermaker, Carl Landry was his normal active self in a starting role for the Kings. Landry finished with 17 points and 10 rebounds. He's also added some noticeable bulk to his upper body from his days at Mackey Arena.
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