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Granger, Hibbert key late run as Pacers beat Wizards

Associated Press

3/29/2012 11:17:53 PM

INDIANAPOLIS -- After a bad loss at New Jersey the previous night, the Indiana Pacers were determined to bounce back at home.

Danny Granger scored 25 points to lead the Pacers to a 93-89 victory over the Washington Wizards on Thursday night. David West had 25 points and eight rebounds for the Pacers and George Hill added 14 points.

Indiana recovered after a 16-point loss at New Jersey on Wednesday night to win for the third time in four games.

"We knew what we had to do," Hill said. "We knew that we blew one last night and we can't let that happen at home.

"We knew that we would have to give a good effort and stay with them for the full game. ... All we have to do is to continue to fight every night and not let down."

Jordan Crawford scored 20 points and Nene had 16 points and 13 rebounds for Washington, which has lost five straight.

Indiana closed with a 13-7 run to secure the victory and improve to 7-7 in the second game of back-to-backs.

Pacers coach Frank Vogel planned to give the team Friday off before facing Southwest Division-leading San Antonio on Saturday.

"It was a tough night, but I thought our guys tried to get through it and defend," Vogel said. "I think our guys are a little fatigued and give them credit. They've got guys playing for jobs.

"We've got to recognize when they need a day off and they'll get one tomorrow."

Roy Hibbert scored five of his nine points during a 7-2 run late in the fourth quarter after the teams were tied 80-all with 4:52 remaining.

Hibbert, who had two points on 1-for-4 shooting in the first half, hit an awkward hook to score his first points since the first quarter to put the Pacers up by two. Danny Granger came back with a turnaround jumper to extend the lead to four. After Nene knocked down a running hook, Hibbert came back with a jump-hook plus the free throw after being fouled by Nene.

Coach Frank Vogel, during his pregame interview, lamented the fact his team didn't get the big man involved during the loss to the Nets. Hibbert was held to five points on 2-for-7 shooting in New Jersey.

Crawford's acrobatic layup pulled the Wizards to 89-87.

John Wall, who finished with 13 points and two assists, drove the lane with 32.4 seconds left but lost control and the ball deflected back across midcourt for his fifth turnover of the game. The Wizards never scored again.

"You have to make simple, simple plays down the stretch," Wizards coach Randy Wittman said. "It might sound trivial or fundamental, but it has to be the easiest play you can make down the stretch, and if it's not, then you can't take the chance.

"They're busting their tails and playing hard, we just have to break through the barrier. ... You can't let frustration get the best of you."

The Wizards' last lead came with 1:20 left in the third quarter at 69-68. But an eight-point quarter from Tyler Hansbrough, including two free throws with 1.6 seconds left, allowed the Pacers rally once again. They went in to the final quarter with a 72-69 lead off a 12-3 run.

NOTES: During his pregame interview, Vogel lamented his team's failure to get Hibbert involved during the loss to New Jersey. The centre was held to five points on 2-for-7 shooting against the Nets. ... The Wizards paid no attention to recent comments by Maryland coach Gary Williams that Kentucky could beat the 11-win Wizards. The Wildcats (36-2) face Louisville in the Final Four on Saturday with a 36-2 record. Wizards coach Randy Wittman was asked his thoughts on Williams' comments before Thursday's game. "Never heard of them," Wittman said succinctly before walking away. ... Wizards rookie Shelvin Mack made his first professional appearance in Indianapolis after he helped lead Butler to the NCAA national championship game in 2010 and 2011. He entered the game to a round of applause at the 1:39 mark of first quarter and finished the game with two points, two rebounds and four assists in 13:31. He spent large portion of pregame signing autographs and taking pictures with fans.