INDIANAPOLIS -- The Indiana Pacers weren't about to let another big first-half lead slip away.
After blowing a 25-point cushion against Denver earlier this season, the Pacers managed to hold off the Dallas Mavericks' second-half rally for a 111-107 victory on Friday.
Danny Granger scored eight of his 25 points in the fourth quarter, Jamaal Tinsley added 24 points and Troy Murphy chipped in 18 for the Pacers (6-7), who won for the third time in four games despite playing without All-Star forward Jermaine O'Neal.
"We are starting to come together as a team, and tonight we could see it," said Indiana center Jeff Foster, who finished with 10 points and 11 rebounds. "This was a big win and we've got to build on it."
Dallas, which trailed by 16 points in the first half, tied it at 98 on Brandon Bass' basket with 5:48 left in the fourth quarter. The Pacers regained a 104-98 advantage later in the period, but the Mavericks scored the next four points to get within two.
"During a timeout, we said, 'Let's show what type of team we are right here,"' Granger said. "We took it from there down the stretch."
Shawne Williams' free throw gave Indiana a 110-107 lead with eight seconds left, and Foster knocked the ball away from Dirk Nowitzki on the Mavericks' ensuing inbounds play to secure the victory.
"When it came down to the end, they were able to get to the free throw line and we kind of sputtered," said Mavericks guard Devin Harris, who scored 24 points.
Nowitzki had 20 points and 11 rebounds, and Josh Howard finished with 19 points for the Mavericks (9-3), who had their five-game win streak snapped.
"We're making it tough on ourselves," Dallas guard Jason Terry said. "It takes a lot out of you to come back like that."
The Pacers opened a 30-20 advantage late in the first quarter on Tinsley's jumper, but Dallas got five straight points from Terry to close out the period.
Indiana built the advantage back up to 41-25 early in the second quarter following Murphy's 3-pointer. The Mavericks answered with a 14-2 run to cut the deficit to four points with 5:09 left in the half, but the Pacers regained a 62-53 advantage heading into the break.
In the third quarter, Dallas trimmed an eight-point Indiana lead to 88-87 late in the period after Howard's two free throws, Terry's 3-pointer and Harris' pair of free throws.
"We felt like we had a great third quarter, and that got us back into the game, but in the fourth, I think we just ran out of gas," Harris said.
Granger said the win proves Indiana can play with some of the top teams in the NBA. The Pacers already have victories over three of the Western Conference's elite - Utah, New Orleans and Dallas.
"This could be a basis for ongoing games and a lot of wins," he said.
Murphy and Nowitzki each got technical fouls following a heated exchange of words with 9:19 left in the fourth quarter. Murphy was upset about a hard foul he received from Nowitzki on a drive to the basket. ... Mavericks coach Avery Johnson was ejected in the fourth quarter after picking up two technical fouls for arguing with referee Bennett Salvatore over a foul call. ... O'Neal missed the game with swelling in his left knee and lower leg. The six-time All-Star also sat out Wednesday's 105-93 victory in New Orleans. The timetable for his return is uncertain. ... Dallas G-F Devean George (left foot stress reaction) and G-F Eddie Jones (sore right leg) did not play. ... The Pacers snapped a four-game losing streak against Dallas.
|Pacers forward Danny Granger grabs a rebound and locks up Josh Howard during the fourth quarter. (AP)|
|Indiana (6-7) «||30||32||26||23||111|
|DAL:D. Harris 24 Pts
DAL:D. Nowitzki 11 Reb
DAL:D. Nowitzki 5 Ast
|IND:D. Granger 25 Pts
IND:J. Foster 11 Reb
IND:J. Tinsley 6 Ast
|Players of the Game|
|D. Nowitzki, PF||42||6-14||8-8||11||5||4||20|
|D. Harris, SG||36||5-13||13-14||4||5||4||24|
|J. Howard, SF||34||7-15||5-6||6||2||5||19|
|T. Hassell, SF||21||5-6||0-0||1||0||4||10|
|D. Diop, C||17||1-3||1-1||6||0||2||3|
|J. Terry, PG||34||4-13||0-0||5||2||3||10|
|B. Bass, PF||30||4-10||5-7||9||0||3||13|
|E. Dampier, C||10||1-1||2-2||3||0||0||4|
|M. Ager, SG||7||0-4||0-0||0||0||1||0|
|J. Howard, PF||5||0-2||0-0||1||0||1||0|
|J. Barea, PG||4||2-3||0-0||0||0||1||4|
|E. Jones, SG||Did Not Play|
|J. Stackhouse, SF||Did Not Play|
|D. George, SG||Did Not Play|
|N. Fazekas, PF||Did Not Play|
|Complete Box Score|
|J. Foster, C||42||5-9||0-0||11||0||3||10|
|J. Tinsley, PG||41||10-24||4-6||6||6||3||24|
|T. Murphy, C||37||6-15||4-4||8||1||5||18|
|D. Granger, SF||36||7-11||11-13||6||2||3||25|
|M. Dunleavy, SG||27||6-11||4-4||4||0||6||17|
|M. Daniels, SG||18||1-5||3-4||3||1||1||5|
|S. Williams, SF||18||3-6||2-4||3||0||1||10|
|D. Harrison, C||11||0-3||0-0||3||1||4||0|
|T. Diener, PG||7||1-3||0-0||0||2||1||2|
|K. Rush, SG||2||0-0||0-0||0||0||1||0|
|J. O'Neal, PF||Did Not Play|
|I. Diogu, PF||Did Not Play|
|S. Graham, SF||Did Not Play|
|A. Owens, SG||Did Not Play|
|C. Sims, C||Did Not Play|
|Complete Box Score|