NBA Game Summary - New Jersey at Indiana
(Friday, March 28th)
Final Score: Indiana 123, New Jersey 115
Indianapolis, IN (Sports Network) - Troy Murphy came back from a strep throat and recorded 21 points and a game-high 17 rebounds to lead the Indiana Pacers to a huge 123-115 victory over the New Jersey Nets.
The Pacers avenged Wednesday's loss at New Jersey, and are 2 1/2 games behind the Atlanta Hawks for the last spot in the Eastern Conference playoffs. Murphy missed Wednesday's loss, but his double-double and 4-of-5 effort from behind the arc were the difference in the decision.
"Murphy was a big game change for them," Nets coach Lawrence Frank said. "We took some questionable shots. We put a lot of pressure on our offense. We just have to do better."
Indiana was terrific from three-point land, connecting on 14-of-25 from long range to help end its two-game losing streak. Mike Dunleavy hit 5-of-6 from behind the arc for 19 points, and Danny Granger produced a well-rounded game with a team-high 26 points to go along with seven rebounds and six assists. Marquis Daniels was efficient off the bench with 14 points, and Kareem Rush provided big buckets in an 11-point performance.
Vine Carter poured in 33 points and nine rebounds, but it wasn't enough for the Nets, who have fallen back to 1 1/2 games behind eighth-seeded Atlanta. Devin Harris contributed 27 points and nine assists in the loss, while Josh Boone added 15 points and a team-high 16 rebounds. Richard Jefferson was held to five field goals, but notched 19 points in defeat.
Indiana opened the final frame with a 10-2 spurt to go ahead 102-93. The Nets inched their way back to make it a one-possession game with four minutes to go in regulation, but consecutive jumpers from Daniels put the Pacers back up, 108-102.
With 1:36 remaining, Murphy pulled down the biggest rebound of the game following a Dunleavy missed free throw. The Pacers took advantage of the extra possession, and swung the ball around to Rush, who calmly sunk a three-pointer from the corner to give the Pacers a 112-104 lead with 1:19 remaining in regulation.
Indiana made its last six free throws to secure the victory and keep its slim playoff hopes alive.
"We defended at a really high level in the second half," Pacers' coach Jim O'Brien said. "I thought our defense won this game for us. It was a much needed win and our guys did what needed to be done, to come back from seven down at the half. We continue to shoot the ball really well from the three- point line."
Indiana led by as many as seven points in the opening stanza, but the Nets caught fire and battled back to tie the score at 33 points apiece on a Williams three-pointer with three seconds left in the period.
Back-to-back Diener and Granger three-pointers highlighted an 11-0 run to begin the second frame and Indiana took its biggest lead of the game at 49-35.
The Pacers, however, would only net two field goals in the final 6:50 of the half, while the Nets had their way on the perimeter. Harris drilled three straight from beyond the arc in the final two minutes to cap off a 28-7 run, and New Jersey pulled ahead, 63-56 at the break.
Indiana scored the first eight points out of intermission, including two three-pointers from Murphy to take yet another lead at 64-63. The squads went back and forth for the remainder of the quarter, as Diener hit a jumper with 3.2 seconds left to give the Pacers a slim 92-91 edge after three quarters of play.
Nets are seeking their seventh straight playoff appearance...Pacers are 17-19 at home this season...Nets had won six of their last seven over the Pacers...Nets have dropped 19 of their last 22 on the road...Nets owned a 50-45 edge in rebounds...Nets shot 10-of-29 from three-point range...Nets shot 42.6 percent from the floor compare to 45.6 percent from the Pacers...Ronald Murray added 12 points for Indiana...Marcus Williams put up 15 points off the bench for New Jersey.
03/28 22:25:53 ET