for this game

Ford rallies Pacers to comeback win over Kings

Jan 4, 2009 - 3:38 AM By Chris Nelsen PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

INDIANAPOLIS (Ticker) -- With two of the NBA's worst defenses squaring off in Saturday night's showdown between the Indiana Pacers and Sacramento Kings, a high-scoring affair was expected. The two sub-.500 teams didn't disappoint.

Danny Granger scored 35 points - his ninth game this season of 30 or more - and the Pacers outlasted the normally low-scoring Kings, 122-117, in a fast and furious contest at Conseco Fieldhouse.

"We got a win against a team that needed a win as badly as we did," Pacers coach Jim O'Brien said. "Danny was absolutely terrific. He made big, big shots."

With the score knotted at 89-89 entering the fourth quarter, the Kings opened a six-point lead on Kevin Martin's 3-pointer with 4:15 left. However, the Pacers battled back to erase the deficit.

Down 113-107, T.J. Ford drove down the right lane and knocked down a layup, drew contact and completed the three-point play to spark a 13-4 run. Danny Granger added a 19-footer one possession later to cut the deficit to just one.

The teams traded baskets over the next two minutes before Ford put Indiana on top for good, sinking a mid-range jumper from 13 feet to pull the Pacers ahead, 118-117. Granger added four free throws over the final 22 seconds to ice the victory - the team's second in as many chances to start the new year.

It was also the Pacers' second close win in as many days after winning at New York 105-103 on Friday night. Entering Saturday, Indiana (12-21) had lost eight home games by eight points or less this season.

"We've lost so many of them (close games), we've had it right there and we never could get over the hump," Granger said. "But these two games are huge for us and I'm glad we got them."

Granger, who finished 10-of-20 from the field and 13-of-16 from the foul line, had 13 points in the fourth quarter as the Pacers (12-21) won consecutive games for just the third time this season.

"I try to up my aggressiveness in the fourth," said Granger, who entered the game as the league's fifth leading scorer at 24.8 points per game. "I almost pace myself and then in the fourth quarter I really go after it."

Martin had a season-high 45 points, which included a career-high seven 3-pointers, for the Kings in his third game back after missing the previous 10 with a sore left ankle.

"That's something I can do very well," Martin said of his scoring prowess. "But tonight, it didn't turn into a win. Hopefully, in the future it does."

Sacramento (8-26), which has lost eight of its last nine games, entered the night averaging just 95.7 points.

"We've got to stop being our own worst enemy," Kings interim coach Kenny Natt said. "We have to focus as a team ? and as a coach, I have to continue to push these guys."

Despite Martin's 19 points in the second quarter, the Kings fell behind, 61-54, on Troy Murphy's 3-pointer with four minutes left in the half. Sacramento chipped away at the deficit, getting within 68-67 on Martin's two free throws before the intermission.

The Pacers shot nearly 55 percent from the field and the Kings shot 50 percent in the first half - and both teams reached season highs for points in a half. Indiana led at the break, 68-67. Martin led all scorers with 25 points through two quarters.

"It was a good pace for us because we have guys that can run the floor," said Kings guard Francisco Garcia, who finished with 10 points. "We play good with that type of pace."

Sacramento began the third quarter with a 9-2 run to open a 76-70 lead. Granger scored the final five points of the period as the Pacers tied things up heading into the final stanza.

Ford scored 16 points, Jarrett Jack scored 13 and Murphy added 12 and 13 rebounds for the Pacers.

"We kept our composure down the stretch, played together, stayed on the same page and got the job done," Ford said. "We're a young team and we have to mature and learn to finish."