for this game

Dunleavy matches career high as Pacers down Raptors

Mar 1, 2008 - 3:54 AM By Brian Herman PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

TORONTO (Ticker) -- With his scoring partner serving a suspension, Mike Dunleavy poured in enough points for them both.

Dunleavy matched his career high with 36 points and Kareem Rush added 23 to lead the Indiana Pacers to a 122-111 victory over the Toronto Raptors at the Air Canada Centre on Friday night.

Danny Granger, who leads the team in scoring at 18.2 points per game, served a one-game suspension for a physical altercation with Chicago Bulls forward Andres Nocioni during Wednesday's 113-107 loss.

Dunleavy, who came in averaging 17.6 points, picked up the slack for his absent teammate, going 11-of-19 from the floor, including 6-of-9 from the arc. He added six rebounds and four assists for Indiana, which snapped a three-game slide.

"With Danny out, Michael really put his mind to getting a good combination of drives and 3-point shots," Pacers coach Jim O'Brien said. "He knew he had to have a big game."

Adding injury to insult for the Raptors, All-Star forward Chris Bosh left the game with 2:23 remaining in the first quarter with a sore right knee and did not return.

"He's our All-Star so we are going to miss him for sure," Toronto point guard T.J. Ford said. "We've had to play without him before so we can't use that as an excuse."

The Raptors challenged early in the fourth quarter, cutting it to 96-90 on Andrea Bargnani's 3-pointer with 8:18 to play. But Troy Murphy and Dunleavy responded with back-to-back 3-pointers to spark a 14-3 run which put the game away.

"We knew they were going to make a run in the fourth, but we just stuck to the way we had been playing," Dunleavy said.

Dunleavy capped the spurt with another 3-pointer, marking the Pacers' biggest lead of the night at 110-93 with 4:07 left in the contest.

"I was trying to stay aggressive the whole night and I was able to put up a lot of points, which was good," Dunleavy said. "We went out there and didn't let up the whole night."

Indiana got off to a quick start in the first quarter as Rush, who recorded 10 points in the period, sank a 3-pointer with 3:53 left to open a 26-15 lead.

Ford began to assert himself for Toronto in the second quarter, helping the home team close the gap to 61-54 at the half.

The Pacers stretched their lead in the third with Rush sinking a pair of 3-pointers as part of a 13-2 run which gave the Pacers a 74-58 advantage with 7:48 left in the third.

"With guys being out, we all wanted to step up and help out, and Mike had a big game, and I was able to knock down some shots," Rush said. "Overall, it was a total team effort, and we beat a good team."

Toronto staged a comeback in the middle of the third as Bargnani sank a pair of 3-pointers and Anthony Parker added another from the arc as part of a 15-0 run which got it within one point at 74-73.

Dunleavy led the way as Indiana answered immediately with 13-4 run to re-establish a lead. Dunleavy recorded 16 points in the quarter to give Indiana an 89-81 lead heading into the final quarter.

"I can't remember a game where we played that bad defensively and gave up that many layups and 3-point shots," Parker said.

Bargnani finished with a 27 points for Toronto, which had its three-game winning streak snapped. Ford, who is still rounding into form after coming back from a spinal injury, finished with 15 points and nine assists off the bench.

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