Danny Granger Scores 26 to Lift Pacers Past 76ers

PHILADELPHIA — Danny Granger
scored 26 points and Dahntay Jones had 18 points to lead the Indiana
Pacers to a 109-98 win over the Philadelphia 76ers on Monday night.

The Pacers earned a split of the
home-and-home series after Philadelphia won 107-97 on Saturday night.
Jones scored seven straight points late in the fourth quarter that
helped the Pacers put this one away for a rare road win.

Brandon Rush scored 16 points, and Troy Murphy had 11 points and 12 rebounds for the Pacers.

Andre Iguodala scored 22 points and
Allen Iverson had 20 for the Sixers. Philadelphia failed in its bid to
win three straight games for the first time this season.

Pacers coach Jim O'Brien blamed
Saturday's loss on fatigue caused by a schedule that had the Pacers
play nine sets of back-to-backs since Dec. 18. The Pacers had won
Friday at Detroit.

Maybe a night's rest made a difference down the stretch.

Jones hit a layup, a short jumper and
converted a three-point play in about 90 seconds that gave the Pacers a
five-point lead. Rush sealed it with a big 3-pointer that stretched the
lead to 105-98 and sent fans fleeing toward the exits.

The Sixers can blame this loss on a
miserable third quarter. They built a double-digit lead on some of
their sharpest shooting of the season, only to watch it collapse
because of a five-basket third quarter. The Sixers couldn't make up for
a nearly six-minute scoring drought spanning the third and fourth
quarters.

Iguodala missed the bulk of the shots — a dreadful 2-of-9 — that let the Pacers grab the lead for the first time in the game.

The Sixers shot 62 percent in the
first half and only led by three. They also never trailed until
Murphy's 3-pointer minutes into the third put the Pacers ahead 63-60.

The Pacers kept making their shots
and that was enough to win the battle between two struggling teams that
still have a shot at the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference playoff
standings.

Iverson, an All-Star starter, got
the Sixers back in a groove when his first 3 of the game pulled them
within two. Lou Williams, who scored 16, sank three straight free
throws after he was fouled on a 3-point attempt that made it 91-90.

Murphy and Granger — who shot a combined 15-for-28 — scored back-to-back buckets that held off the Sixers' charge.

Iguodala fought inside for a tough
basket that made it 95-92 and a fadeaway that kept the deficit at
three. The Sixers just couldn't make the stops. Jones tossed in a
one-hander down the lane between Elton Brand and Iguodala.

Williams, benched twice recently for
the entire fourth quarter, cut it to 99-97 on a 3 in front of Indiana's
bench. It was just too late.

Notes
Pacers F Tyler Hansbrough sat
out with an inner ear infection. … O'Brien coached the Sixers in
2004-05. … Sixers coach Eddie Jordan feels Brand, who missed most of
the last two seasons with various injuries, is about 100 percent. It's
one reason Jordan has put Brand back in the starting lineup.

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