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Granger leads Pacers past Hawks

Nov 19, 2008 - 4:56 AM INDIANAPOLIS (Ticker) -- Danny Granger led the way with 34 points as the Indiana Pacers used a strong shooting effort to top the Atlanta Hawks, 113-96, on Tuesday.

Rasho Nesterovic chipped in 21 points and Troy Murphy pulled down 19 rebounds to go along with 10 points for the Pacers, who shot 55 percent (44-of-80) in ending their two-game losing streak.

"They were doing a lot of switching on defense," Nesterovic said. "There was a lot of small guys finishing on big guys and we tried to take advantage of that. We are just trying to play off our guards. We are moving so well right now and making so many cuts that it's easy to find someone open, which is good."

Granger was at his best down the stretch.

"He's got that killer instinct for a scorer," Nesterovic said of Granger. "He's so young and he can just go up. He's definitely going to be a cornerstone of this team for many years."

When the Hawks cut the lead to 95-88 on Acie Law's layup with 7:58 to play, Granger scored 10 points over the final 5:18 to keep Indiana on top.

"I thought we put together four quarters of complete basketball," Pacers coach Jim O'Brien said.

The Pacers dominated on the inside the entire game, winning the rebounding battle, 46-41, and scoring 56 points in the paint to Atlanta's 28.

"We're trying to run, so we can't run unless we get those defensive rebounds," said Murphy, who collected 16 defensive boards. "Trying to get rebounds that start the break is what Rasho, Jeff (Foster), and I have to focus on."

Part of the problem for the Hawks was the absence of starting center Al Horford, who left the game with 4:45 left in the first quarter with an injured right ankle and did not return.

Indiana came out of the gate on fire, shooting 58 percent (26-of-45) in the first half to cruise into the break with a 61-48 edge. Granger went 7-of-9 from the floor to enter the half with 17 points. He finished the game 13-of-18.

The Pacers hit 8-of-13 from beyond the arc.

Joe Johnson finished with 25 points for the Hawks, who have dropped four straight since beginning the season 6-0.

Atlanta is allowing an average of 112.5 points over its last four games.

"We can't beat anybody like this," Johnson told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

"There's no question, the first six wins, we rebounded and defended, and teams struggled to score against us," Hawks coach Mike Woodson said.

"Now we've got some gaps. Not having Josh Smith in there and Al tonight, but there's no excuses. We've all been practicing together. We all just have to get on the same page and give the effort."

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