for this game

Pistons stave off Granger, Pacers

Dec 13, 2008 - 5:59 AM By Chuck Klonke PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

AUBURN HILLS, Michigan (Ticker) -- No matter how many points Danny Granger scores, the Indiana Pacers can't beat the Detroit Pistons.

Granger scored a career-high 42 points, including 18 in the fourth quarter, but Detroit held on for its eighth straight victory against the Pacers, 114-110, on Friday.

The win snapped a three-game losing streak for Detroit. It was the fifth straight loss for Indiana.

In the season opener on October 29, Granger scored 33 points in a 100-94 win for the Pistons.

"They hit tough shots when we were right there in the game," an obviously frustrated Granger said. "We came back but just couldn't close it out. I'm getting tired of losing games and it's just frustrating that we're so close like this.

"It's very agonizing. We come back the next day and watch the film and highlight the stuff we could change and then we go out and do the same things to lose the game."

Granger's performance was offset by 28 points from Detroit's Richard Hamilton and 21 from Rodney Stuckey. Allen Iverson had 17 points and a season-high 12 assists.

"Coach (Michael Curry) said it would take a game where we'd have to grind it out to get out of our slump," Iverson said. "We buckled down and did everything we had to do to win this game."

In two of Detroit's last three defeats, the Pistons held double-digit leads but let them slip away.

"I was thinking about that in the latter part of this game," Iverson said. "We had a big lead against the Sixers and the same thing against the Wizards. I was hoping this wasn't deja vu all over again."

Detroit took an 86-80 lead into the final quarter, but it didn't take long for Indiana to tie the game 88-88 on a jump shot from the top of the key by Granger with 8:41 left. Rasho Nesterovic gave the Pacers their first lead since late in the first quarter when he hit a jumper with 7:10 left to make it 92-90.

There were five ties and three lead changes before Rasheed Wallace put Detroit ahead to stay, 104-103, with a 3-point basket from the corner with 2:40 to play.

After Hamilton gave Detroit a 109-105 lead, each team missed a shot before Granger hit a 3-point shot to bring Indiana within a point.

Wallace then hit a pair of free throws to make it 111-108 with 14.6 seconds left. Wallace scored all seven of his points in the final quarter.

Granger then drove to the hoop and hit an easy layup before the Pacers fouled Hamilton, who hit 1-of-2 to make it 112-110 with 8.6 seconds left.

T.J. Ford had a chance to tie the game with a short jumper with three seconds to go but Tayshaun Prince blocked the shot and Antonio McDyess grabbed the rebound.

Arron Afflalo hit two foul shots to seal the victory.

"Any time you're struggling, you won't have a great game to break it," Curry said. "Then when you do break it, there's a sigh of relief and you can relax a little.

"The key for us tonight was that we made multiple efforts to make plays on defense when we needed them."

Pacers coach Jim O'Brien was pleased with his team's effort.

"Our guys had a tough-minded second half and a tough-minded fourth quarter," O'Brien said. "It was a big shot in the corner by Wallace that we guarded well. We knew that we could get a good shot with Ford at the end and we hoped that one of (the Pistons) would come off one of our perimeter guys, but they stuck on them and (the shot) didn't fall."

The Pistons shot 62 percent from the field in the first half but couldn't pull away from the Pacers, who made 61 percent of their first-half shots. Detroit led 63-57 at the half.

It was the highest-scoring first half for the Pistons, who scored 62 points in a 107-97 win against Milwaukee on November 28.

McDyess made his return to Detroit an impressive one with 12 points in the second quarter. He hit six of his first seven shots. The Pistons' guard tandem of Iverson and Stuckey scored 11 points apiece in the first half.

Detroit used a 19-5 run that bridged the first and second quarters to take a 37-26 lead with 11:11 left in the first half. Will Bynum came off the bench to score six points in the spurt.

Hamilton wasn't surprised by Granger's scoring outburst.

"He's like their first, second and third option on offense," Hamilton said. "I'm kinda disappointed he scored that many points because we take pride in not letting anybody score like that, but he's going to get his shots the way they play up and down.

"We just can't let ourselves get frustrated by it."