for this game

Pacers snap three-game home losing streak; Granger hurt

Feb 12, 2007 - 12:07 AM INDIANAPOLIS (Ticker) -- Indiana Pacers coach Rick Carlisle has been exasperated with his team for not taking advantage of a soft spot in the schedule. He couldn't even enjoy a win that snapped a three-game home losing streak.

Jermaine O'Neal scored 21 points and Mike Dunleavy Jr. added 20 to lead the Pacers to a 94-80 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers.

The win was overshadowed by an injury to starting forward Danny Granger, who had to be taken off the court on a stretcher with 4:38 left in the third quarter. After trying to rebound his own missed shot in the lane, Granger fell to the floor.

Granger was placed on a stretcher and taken to a hospital. He is alert and responsive, but the team did not release any further details.

"I just saw that he missed a tip and saw him in a heap on the floor," Carlisle said. "We're hopeful it's nothing serious. He was able to respond and answer questions. We're going to have to cross our fingers and hope he's OK."

The injury is the latest blow for the Pacers, who just last week were two games behind the Detroit Pistons for the best record in the Eastern Conference.

That was before Indiana lost the first three games of a six-game homestand against sub-.500 teams, including one last Wednesday against Seattle in which it blew a double-digit fourth quarter lead.

The Pacers entered Sunday's contest 5 1/2 games in back of the Pistons, who are riding a six-game winning streak.

The Clippers are on the sixth leg of a seven-game road trip and played like a tired team. They shot just 29 percent (10-of-35) from the field in the first half and 37 percent (28-of-76) overall.

Mobley led Los Angeles with 23 points. But teammates Sam Cassell, Shaun Livingston and Tim Thomas combined to make just 8-of-30 shots. Elton Brand was held to 14 points, seven below his season average.

The Pacers closed the first half with a 16-0 run to open a 52-32 lead. O'Neal and Dunleavy each scored five points and Jamaal Tinsley added a pair of layups to highlight the spurt.

"You can't allow teams to go on 16-0 runs," Cassell said. "You just can't allow that, especially on the road. But they did it."

The Clippers fought back and pulled within 83-76 with 5:46 left after a 10-0 run, but the Pacers scored the next six points. O'Neal made a layup and a turnaround jumper and Dunleavy hit a jumper to give Indiana an 89-76 advantage with 3:16 remaining.

Dunleavy played against the team coached by his father, Mike, for the first time since being acquired by Indiana from Golden State last month. He made 9-of-12 shots.

"He is playing comfortably in this (the Pacers) system," the elder Dunleavy said. "It used to be tough at first, playing against your son. But it's gotten easier."

"I have mixed emotions," Dunleavy Jr. said. "I wanted to beat him real bad, but I also want to see him do well. I hope they win the rest of their games, but the most important thing is our team."

O'Neal became the franchise's all-time leader in blocked shots with 1,113. He had four in Sunday's win to break the club record of 1,111 by Rik Smits.

The return of Marquis Daniels also provided the Pacers with a big lift. After missing seven games with tendinitis of the left knee, Daniels scored 14 points off the bench.

"Marquis is a guy who can get it to the paint off the dribble at any time," Carlisle said. "When we don't have him, it changes the geometry of the game."

Tinsley played a solid game at the point, dishing out a season-high 15 assists and adding four steals.

"It's very important to get on a roll heading into the All-Star break," Tinsley said. "We have another home game and we got to get that one.

The Pacers host Memphis on Wednesday before the All-Star break and finish the six-game homestand against sub-.500 teams when they return on February 21 against Milwaukee.

The Clippers are 2-4 on a trip which ends Monday at Detroit.

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