for this game

Granger hits winning free throw as Pacers sink Cavs

Feb 11, 2009 - 4:32 AM INDIANAPOLIS (Ticker) -- Cleveland Cavaliers coach Mike Brown didn't mince words about the officiating at the end of Tuesday's game.

Thanks to a controversial call, Danny Granger hit a free throw with two tenths of a second left, lifting the Indiana Pacers to a 96-95 victory over the Cavaliers despite LeBron James' 47 points and sending Brown into a postgame rage about the final two plays of the contest.

"Do I care (if I get fined)?" Brown said. "I don't care if I get fined. It is what it is. I saw the two plays. It was a bad call. (Official Joey Crawford) determined the outcome of that game. If they want to fine me for telling the truth, they can fine me for telling the truth."

Granger was fouled by James, who bumped the Pacers' All-Star forward while he was attempting to convert an alley-oop layup with less than a tick left. Granger made the first free throw and intentionally missed the second, allowing time to expire.

Brown, for his part, wasn't done - even if he didn't specifically name Crawford, who's famous for being a hothead. Crawford earned a suspension and fine for a confrontation with San Antonio's Tim Duncan in 2007.

"I just watched the last two plays and, that last call on LeBron is the worst call I've ever been a part of," Brown said. "I can not imagine another worse call than that, by that official.

"For him to take away a basketball game from a team with four-tenths of second on the clock is irresponsible. It was predetermined from the call that was made at the other end of the floor and it's unfortunate. Absolutely horrible."

The call on the other end also involved Granger, who had fouled James on the prior possession, while the Cavaliers' superstar was attempting an identical alley-oop conversion with four-tenths remaining. James nailed both free throws to tie the game at 95-95.

Brown, however, agreed with the call that went for his team.

"LeBron was up in the air, Danny just jumped into him, it's a foul ... and it was the right call," the coach said. "The call on our end of the floor, the ball had no chance of getting to Danny Granger.

"It was two guys jumping in the air. To make that call, at that point in the game, was (garbage). It was a bad call. The official lost the game for us."

Per NBA rules, timeouts allowed both teams to advance the ball past midcourt.

James led the way for the Cavaliers, who lost their second straight. They suffered their first home loss Sunday against the Los Angeles Lakers.

The superstar forward also let his feeling be know about the game's ending, even if he softened the blow a bit.

"Well, I thought the call on Granger against me was questionable, but there was definitely some contact," James said. "The last call against me was not questionable at all. No contact was made and the pass was short.

"It was short of the rim, and there was no way he could catch it and go to the rim with four-tenths of a second left."

Troy Murphy collected 18 points and 15 rebounds and Granger added 16 points for the last-place Pacers, who now have wins over four of the NBA's elite, including the Lakers, Boston Celtics and Orlando Magic.

Murphy admitted that, while the ending made Brown mad, it saved Pacers coach Jim O'Brien from a similar rampage.

"Jim O'Brien would have been beside himself if Joey didn't make that call," Murphy said. "If you call it on one end, you have to call it on the other, make up call or not. I don't think it was a make up call, I think it was just the call they made and you have to make it on both ends."

It seemed as though Indiana was going to have an easier time closing this one out in the fourth, when Granger's three made it 91-84 with 2:18 left.

But James pushed Cleveland back by hitting a three, nailing two free throws and handing off a pretty assist to Wally Szczerbiak, who tied the game at 93-93 with 20 ticks left.

The layup was uncontested thanks to James, who drove the right baseline, took two monster steps through the lane - drawing three defenders - and dumped off a pass to the cutting Szczerbiak.

Then, it got wild.

After a timeout, T.J. Ford dribbled the clock down to three seconds before driving to Mo Williams' left and drilling a fadeaway jumper with eight-tenths of a second left to give the Pacers a two-point lead and set the stage for the final sequence.

"I'm glad that Joey made that call," Murphy said. "It was the right call, and we're glad to get out with a win."

James, who scored 52 points last week against the New York Knicks, had another high-scoring output in this one, using his prowess right from the start. He scored 17 points in the first quarter on 6-of-7 shooting.

The leading MVP candidate and reigning scoring champion finished the first half with 28 points on 10-of-12 shooting. He led the Cavaliers to a 43-42 advantage at intermission despite a 6-of-31 performance from his teammates.

The teams played it even, 25-25, in the third, setting up an entertaining final period which the Pacers won, 29-27.

Cleveland, which had won its first 23 home games, suffered its first back-to-back setbacks this campaign.

Ford scored 15 points and Travis Diener added 13 off the bench for Indiana, which will play at Milwaukee on Wednesday.