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Murray's 22 points help Pacers topple Bobcats

Mar 20, 2008 - 3:29 AM INDIANAPOLIS (Ticker) -- Flip Murray got hot at the right time for the Indiana Pacers.

Murray scored 16 of his season high-tying 22 points in the second half as the Pacers defeated the Charlotte Bobcats, 102-95, on Wednesday.

Troy Murphy had 18 points and 13 rebounds and Shawne Williams scored 16 off the bench for Indiana (27-41), which is now two games behind both the New Jersey Nets (29-39) and Atlanta Hawks for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. The Nets defeated the Hawks, 125-117, on Wednesday.

"It's the end of the season, and we know what we need to do to win," said Williams, who hadn't seen any playing time for five straight games entering Wednesday. "We should be in the playoffs if we defend a little more. The team knows what we need to do to get this accomplished."

Reserve Marquis Daniels scored 13 and Mike Dunleavy added 12, five rebounds and five assists for the Pacers, who shot 49 percent (39-of-79) and have won consecutive games for just the third time in three months. Indiana defeated New York, 110-98, behind Dunleavy's season-high 36 points on Monday.

"All these games count now," Murray said. "We're trying to make the playoffs, so we've got to bring it every night."

In this game, the Pacers trailed by seven at the break before Murray's 14 points in the third vaulted them to a 75-68 advantage entering the final period.

"I was just trying to be aggressive, trying to get us back into the game," said Murray, who signed with the Pacers on March 1 after being released by Detroit. "We didn't want (Charlotte) to run away with it, so I tried to be aggressive and get some easy baskets."

Murray, who was signed by Indiana on March 1, connected on 5-of-8 in the third as the Pacers outscored the Bobcats, 29-15, in the period. Murray's final total matched the 22 he scored against Dallas last Friday.

"Flip was very, very strong," Pacers coach Jim O'Brien said. "He got a little bit of a hot hand, and we tried to get it to him as much as possible."

"We're off our game; we're struggling in the third quarter," Bobcats forward Gerald Wallace said. "That's where we lost the game tonight, and where we've been losing them."

Williams scored 10 of his total early in the fourth, including a runner which gave Indiana an 85-73 advantage 2:53 into the quarter.

"I feel like it's been a long time coming for me," Williams said of his scoring burst. "I'm just trying to work my way back up in the rotation."

However, Charlotte chipped away at the lead, reducing its deficit to 96-95 on a pair of foul shots by Jason Richardson with 1:35 left. Those would be the Bobcats' final points of the game as Daniels, Dunleavy and Williams each made two free throws to finish the scoring.

"It's very frustrating, but it's a script we've seen a lot," Bobcats coach Sam Vincent said. "We've had a lot of close games, we get them to one point, we get them to overtime, and we don't come up with the win.

"Our third quarters continue to be our problem. We scramble to get back in the game, and then we find a way to not get over the top."

Richardson had 20 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists and reserve Matt Carroll scored 18 for Charlotte, which shot 44 percent (34-of-78) and has dropped five straight.

Wallace also had 17 points and six boards for the Bobcats, who are 1-5 all-time in Conseco Fieldhouse.

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