for this game

Granger, Pacers crush Celtics

Nov 2, 2008 - 2:16 AM INDIANAPOLIS (Ticker) -- Danny Granger may have lost his two front teeth, but he helped the Indiana Pacers avoid a loss.

The fourth-year pro scored 20 points and T.J. Ford had 19 as the Pacers surprisingly cruised past the Boston Celtics, 95-79, on Saturday.

Granger, who signed a contract extension Friday, had his teeth knocked out early in the fourth quarter when diving for a loose ball. Celtics forward Paul Pierce also was going for the ball and rolled on top of Granger, slamming his face into the floor.

"It was a (heck) of a hustle play. I went to congratulate him and he smiled at me and I saw what happened," Pacers coach Jim O'Brien said. "It's ironic that's a play made by a guy who just signed a long-term deal."

Granger did not come out of the contest, as Indiana stretched an 11-point lead at the end of three quarters to as many as 25 with 4:23 remaining.

"A great victory for the Indiana Pacers, a terrific crowd and our guys competed at the very highest level against a very good basketball team," O'Brien said. "It was only one win, but I certainly think the fans saw a full-out effort for 48 mintues."

Playing in their first road game of the season, the Celtics shot just 35 percent (27-of-78) from the floor and committed 24 turnovers.

"I don't know if it was our sloppy play or missed free throws, but give Indiana credit," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. "I thought Jim (O'Brien) had them prepared. They played hard and they were fired up and we just didn't play well."

Indiana ended the first quarter on a 14-4 run to take a 27-17 lead and led the rest of the way.

"We started very well and controlled the tempo of the game," said Pacers guard Marquis Daniels, who had 13 points and 10 rebounds. "We played great halfcourt defense the whole game."

The Pacers held a 48-41 lead at the break, and Granger scored four points during an 8-0 run that pushed Indiana's cushion to 62-45 with 6:46 left in the third.

Boston never cut the deficit to single digits the rest of the way, and Indiana used a 13-2 run to create further separation, taking a 92-67 bulge with 4:23 remaining.

Kevin Garnett had 18 points and 14 rebounds and Pierce added 15 and 10 for Boston.

"They made their runs and we didn't match their energy," Pierce said. "We didn't shoot the ball well and we turned it over. We got to expect everybody's best on the road, especially in their home opener."

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