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Minnesota at Indiana

Pacers win third straight, creep closer to No. 8 in East

CBSSports.com wire reports
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INDIANAPOLIS -- Danny Granger and the Indiana Pacers aren't giving up on their playoff hopes without a fight.

Granger scored 32 points to lead the Pacers past Minnesota 124-113 Friday night for their third straight victory. Indiana moved within 1½ games of idle Atlanta for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

Despite a sprained right wrist, an injury that kept him out of Wednesday's game against Charlotte, Granger played nearly 40 minutes and shot 11-of-23 from the field, including 6-of-8 from beyond the arc.

"I usually play through nicks and bruises," he said. "If this was a playoff game, I would definitely be out there ... and these are like playoff games for us."

Granger's teammates weren't surprised to see him play with pain. The third-year forward missed the only game of his NBA career because of injury on Wednesday.

"He really gutted through it and helped us get the win tonight," Pacers forward Troy Murphy said. "We've come to expect that from him."

Mike Dunleavy had 25 points and seven assists, and Murphy added 22 points and 15 rebounds for the Pacers (28-41), who set a franchise record with 16 3-pointers made.

"The 3-point shot is a big part of coach (Jim) O'Brien's offense, and when we're shooting it well, we're a very hard team to beat," Granger said.

Timberwolves guard Randy Foye was impressed with Indiana's ability to hit 59 percent of its attempts from long range.

"They were really hot," Foye said. "It seemed like no matter what we did, they always had an answer offensively."

Rashad McCants had 22 points, Foye scored 16 and Kirk Snyder 15 for the Timberwolves (17-51), who were trying to win three straight games for the first time this season.

"It was a tough loss," McCants said. "Coming in, we thought we had a chance to win, but we had a lot of problems defensively."

Trailing by 20 points late in the third quarter, Minnesota cut the deficit to 96-88 following Craig Smith's two free throws with 10 minutes left in the game. Indiana answered with the next seven points, including Granger's 3-pointer, to open a 103-88 lead.

Dunleavy helped seal the victory with a rare four-point play with 2:23 left, giving the Pacers a 120-103 advantage.

"Coach told us we have to approach every game with a playoff intensity, and that's what we're trying to do," Granger said. "Every game could be the one that keeps us out of the playoffs or puts us in the playoffs."

Indiana turned an early four-point deficit into a 35-27 lead following Murphy's 3-pointer late in the first quarter. Murphy had 10 points and six rebounds in the period.

The Pacers used a 7-0 run midway through the second quarter to make it 52-36, and they took their biggest lead of the first half, 66-46, on Dunleavy's 3-pointer.

With Indiana holding a 93-73 edge with two minutes left in the third quarter, the Timberwolves closed the period with the final nine points, including consecutive 3-pointers from McCants.

"We had our moments on offense, but just couldn't put together enough stops," Foye said.

Notes

  • Pacers F Jermaine O'Neal missed his 29th straight game with a bone bruise in his left knee, and G Jamaal Tinsley has missed 23 of the last 26 games with a sore left knee.
  • Minnesota G Sebastian Telfair sat out with a sprained left ankle.
  • The Pacers have won five games in a row at Conseco Fieldhouse. Their last home loss came against Chicago on Feb. 27.
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Troy Murphy finishes with 22 points and 15 boards ... and a case of basketball on the brain. (Getty Images)
Troy Murphy finishes with 22 points and 15 boards ... and a case of basketball on the brain. (Getty Images)

Scoreboard
Minnesota (17-51) 27223331113
Indiana (28-41) «35312731124
MIN:R. McCants 22 Pts
MIN:A. Jefferson 9 Reb
MIN:R. McCants 6 Ast
IND:D. Granger 32 Pts
IND:T. Murphy 15 Reb
IND:M. Dunleavy 7 Ast
Players of the Game
IndianaMinnesota

M. Dunleavy

R. McCants
PtsRebsAstPtsRebsAst
25472226
Minnesota
R. Foye, PG405-124-426116
M. Jaric, SF324-61-121111
A. Jefferson, PF295-111-192511
K. Snyder, SG287-90-153315
R. Gomes, PF256-91-233114
R. McCants, SG248-173-526222
C. Smith, PF236-82-250514
C. Brewer, SF202-70-04034
C. Richard, PF193-30-14036
A. Walker, SFDid Not Play
G. Buckner, SGDid Not Play
M. Doleac, CDid Not Play
M. Madsen, PFDid Not Play
S. Telfair, PGDid Not Play
Totals 46-8212-17362124113
 56.1%70.6% 
Indiana
M. Dunleavy, SG418-133-347225
T. Murphy, C406-167-7152122
D. Granger, SF4011-234-643332
J. Foster, C294-52-5123410
R. Murray, PG214-82-204210
D. Harrison, C273-84-650410
T. Diener, PG274-70-03739
M. Daniels, SG152-52-43106
J. O'Neal, PFDid Not Play
J. Tinsley, PGDid Not Play
K. Rush, SGDid Not Play
I. Diogu, PFDid Not Play
S. Graham, SFDid Not Play
A. Owens, SGDid Not Play
S. Williams, SFDid Not Play
Totals 42-8524-33462719124
 49.4%72.7% 
Other Games
Phi 95 Final
Orl 113
Tor 83 Final
Cle 90
Wash 103 Final
Mia 86
Den 125 Final
NJ 114
Mem 120 Final
NY 106
Sac 89 Final
SA 102
LAC 102 Final
Port 107
Hou 109 Final
GS 106
Sea 105 Final
LAL 130