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O'Neal, Pacers continue to beat the Lakers at home

Feb 3, 2007 - 5:04 AM INDIANAPOLIS (Ticker) -- The Indiana Pacers parlayed the young legs of Danny Granger and the savvy presence of Darrell Armstrong into a big win.

Granger and Armstrong sparked a fourth-quarter surge as the Indiana Pacers rallied for a 95-84 victory over the Lakers.

Jermaine O'Neal scored 22 points and grabbed nine rebounds and Jamaal Tinsley added 16 and six assists for Indiana, which slowed down Kobe Bryant in beating Los Angeles for the four straight game here.

The Pacers entered the fourth quarter trailing, 70-63, before Granger and Armstrong took over.

"When we were down, we could have easily folded but we didn't," Granger said. "We just kept fighting and plugging away, and we made a run in the fourth that put them away."

The second-year forward scored nine points and the 38-year-old veteran guard added eight in the final frame, including a 3-pointer with 6:52 remaining that put Indiana up for good, 75-74.

"Darrell's definitely a sparkplug for us," Granger said. "He comes in and brings so much energy, and you wouldn't think he would because he's so old, but he does it every night."

Granger and Armstrong scored 14 points each for the Pacers, who outscored the Lakers, 32-14, in the final period for their fifth straight home triumph.

"We (stunk)," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. "That's about all you can say. We didn't score for a period of time and it was an ugly way to end the game when it looked like it was going to be a duel down to the finish."

O'Neal scored 20 points in the first three quarters but shot just 7-of-21 overall. The Pacers also had to overcome the loss of starting center Troy Murphy, who broke his nose midway through the first period.

"I'm very excited about the way the team is playing right now," O'Neal said. "With Troy Murphy breaking his nose tonight, that's a bit of a setback, but overall we are playing well. We need to continue to improve on both ends of the floor and get ready for the second half of the season."

Kobe Bryant scored 22 points on only 7-of-25 from the field and Smush Parker added 20 for Los Angeles, which has dropped two of three on its current season-high eight-game road trek.

"I think Granger and the rest of the guys did a good job on Kobe," Tinsley said. "They limited him to one shot and made him pass the ball and take tough shots. A great player is going to get off his shots, but tonight we made him work for them."

"The ball just wasn't going in for me," Bryant said. "I'm an eternal optimist, so hopefully I'll shoot better tomorrow."

Vladimir Radmanovic had 11 points and Lamar Odom added 10 and 12 boards for the Lakers, who shot a paltry 38 percent (32-of-84).

"Bad game," Odom said. "It's a shame the way we played tonight. We weren't getting into our offense and getting the ball to guys where they are comfortable. Our recognition was bad."

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