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Granger's career-high leads Pacers past Knicks

Dec 16, 2006 - 4:18 AM INDIANAPOLIS (Ticker) -- Danny Granger's hot start was all the Indiana Pacers needed.

Granger scored 21 of his career-high 25 points in the first half to lead the Pacers to a 112-96 triumph over the New York Knicks.

The 6-9 Granger was at his best in the second quarter, when he scored 15 points to help the Pacers take control of the game.

"A performance like this really gives me confidence," Granger said. "I'm not going to do this every night, especially with the offensive players we have on this team, but it definitely helps my confidence."

Granger scored seven points during a 13-3 burst, which gave the Pacers a 59-42 bulge with 1:22 left in the half. He finished 8-of-10 from the floor overall.

"He did a great job setting the tone and we did a good job continuing to find him in the first half," said Pacers forward Jermaine O'Neal, who had 11 points and 11 rebounds. "I was just trying to rebound, be a decoy, and fill in."

After making just 7-of-22 shots from the floor in the first quarter, the Pacers went 14-of-21 in the second en route to building a 64-49 advantage at the break.

"We had a lot of our second group guys in, we stuck with them, they dug in and got us a lead," Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said. "We knew we had to play basketball and keep our turnovers down."

Stephen Jackson scored 19 points and Al Harrington added 17 for Indiana, which shot 47 percent (38-of-80) overall.

"We were able to get a lead and kept it for all four quarters," Jackson said. "Our bench gave us good help tonight. Danny (Granger) was tremendous."

Jamal Crawford scored 21 of his 29 points in the first half for the Knicks, who shot 44 percent (32-of-72).

Knicks center Eddie Curry was held to 10 points, marking the first time in the last 12 games that he failed to reach at least 20.

"It's tough to get in a rhythm when you're in early foul trouble and then come back into the game," Curry said. "I just had a bad game and was out of rhythm all night. You have to find a way to play through it."

Knicks guard Quentin Richardson did not play in the second half due to back spasms.

The Pacers used a 10-0 run early in the second quarter to take the lead for good. Darrell Armstrong's 3-pointer at the 8:51 mark capped the burst and gave the Pacers a 32-29 lead.

"That was the turning point in the game, and we just caved," Knicks coach Isiah Thomas said. "They made a run at us and they had things going their way. We just came unglued and that was very disappointing."

Indiana won its sixth straight home game.

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