They wouldn't have won the rematch without him.
Granger, who missed the win at New York with strep throat, hit the game-winning jumper with 0.3 seconds left and scored 26 points in Indiana's 119-117 victory on Tuesday night.
Indiana passed the ball inbounds with 7.8 seconds left. Granger worked the clock, drove right on Shawne Williams, pulled up and connected on a 17-foot fadeaway.
Williams, a former Pacer who guarded Granger many times in practice, anticipated Granger's first move.
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"I tried to jump on his right hand, but he gave me a move," he said. "You just got to get into him and make that shot more difficult than it was. I feel like he got too good of a look at the basket. He's going to make those eight times of out 10."
Indiana coach Frank Vogel's game plan was simple.
"We wanted to get the last shot and we wanted Danny to take it," he said. "That's all the details were. Get the ball to your best player and, as time expires, get a shot off."
Time didn't quite expire, but New York couldn't connect on a lob attempt as time ran out.
The Pacers were in position to win in part because Tyler Hansbrough scored a career-high 30 points. He set a career high with 29 points on Sunday.
"I love New York, but I just happen to play good against them," Hansbrough said.
Carmelo Anthony was at a loss to explain how the Knicks let a player who averages 10 points explode for 59 points on 65 percent shooting in two games.
"We all know what he was capable of doing," said Anthony, who led the Knicks with 29 points. "I don't think we made adjustments to him at the top of the key. Especially after the game he had in the Garden, I would think we would make some adjustments after that. He's played great these last two games."
Darren Collison added 24 points and nine assists for the Pacers, who had lost six straight before the back-to-back wins over the Knicks.
"We had a rough stretch that, we all understand that we went through a tough time," Vogel said. "We're on our way back to being ourselves."
A jumper by Collison gave the Pacers a 116-115 lead with 24 seconds remaining. New York had a chance to take the lead, but Paul George stole Chauncey Billups' bounce pass to Stoudemire. George was fouled and made one of two free throws with 13 seconds left to give Indiana a 117-115 lead.
Anthony made a layup on the other end with 7.8 seconds remaining to tie the score. He drove on Granger, who was playing with five fouls.
Granger responded with the game-winner.
"They made some big shots, but we came right back and made some big shots," he said.
The Pacers surged ahead early in the third quarter. A power dunk in traffic by Hansbrough ignited the crowd, then Granger hit a 3-pointer and Collison scored on a fast-break layup to push Indiana's lead to 76-66 midway through the period.
After a Knicks timeout, Hansbrough continued his onslaught. He scored another bucket, then converted a three-point play to make it 81-68. He finished with 15 points in the quarter.
New York closed the quarter on a 10-0 run to cut Indiana's lead to 87-82 at the end of the period.
Indiana surrendered its lead in the fourth before rallying.
"Our execution down the stretch, in particular late in the fourth quarter, was terrific, and that's what wins ballgames for you," Vogel said.
The loss left the Knicks searching for answers.
"It feels bad," Williams said. "We know we got to get it going, some kind of way. I feel like we all got to take a good look in the mirror and redefine ourselves. We got to take more pride in defense."
|In addition to hitting the game winner, Danny Granger finishes with 26 points, seven boards and three assists. (AP)|
|New York (34-32)||27||27||28||35||117|
|Indiana (29-38) «||29||28||30||32||119|
|NY:C. Anthony 29 Pts
NY:A. Stoudemire 10 Reb
NY:C. Billups 5 Ast
|IND:T. Hansbrough 30 Pts
IND:R. Hibbert 12 Reb
IND:D. Collison 9 Ast
|Players of the Game|
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|C. Anthony, SF||36||10-20||6-7||9||2||4||29|
|A. Stoudemire, PF||34||7-17||7-9||10||1||5||21|
|S. Williams, SF||34||4-7||0-0||6||1||3||10|
|C. Billups, PG||31||5-11||4-4||0||5||2||14|
|L. Fields, SG||30||5-10||4-6||3||5||2||17|
|T. Douglas, PG||29||5-11||3-3||3||4||2||17|
|J. Jeffries, PF||25||2-5||0-1||6||0||1||4|
|R. Mason Jr., SG||9||1-4||0-0||0||2||2||3|
|R. Turiaf, C||8||1-3||0-0||4||1||2||2|
|B. Walker, SG||3||0-1||0-0||0||0||1||0|
|A. Carter, PG||Did Not Play|
|R. Balkman, SF||Did Not Play|
|S. Williams, PF||Did Not Play|
|D. Brown, SF||Did Not Play|
|A. Rautins, SG||Did Not Play|
|Complete Box Score|
|T. Hansbrough, PF||37||12-17||6-8||3||0||3||30|
|D. Granger, SF||35||10-20||4-5||7||3||5||26|
|D. Collison, PG||32||9-13||5-5||3||9||1||24|
|R. Hibbert, C||31||5-13||5-6||12||5||3||15|
|P. George, SF||28||2-5||1-2||4||3||3||5|
|B. Rush, SG||20||0-3||0-0||2||0||0||0|
|J. Foster, C||16||1-1||1-2||10||0||1||3|
|A. Price, PG||16||2-5||0-0||1||2||1||4|
|D. Jones, SG||13||3-8||0-0||0||1||2||7|
|J. McRoberts, PF||12||2-3||1-2||4||3||0||5|
|J. Posey, SF||Did Not Play|
|M. Dunleavy, SF||Did Not Play|
|T. Ford, PG||Did Not Play|
|S. Jones, PF||Did Not Play|
|L. Stephenson, SG||Did Not Play|
|Complete Box Score|