SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Danny Granger scored a season-high 37 points for the Indiana Pacers, who used a strong third quarter to pull away from the Sacramento Kings, in a 107-98 victory Tuesday night.
The victory was the fourth in five games for the Pacers, who began their four-game road trip by beating the Lakers on Sunday night.
Beno Udrih scored 24 points for the Kings, who have dropped five straight, 10 of 11 and are 2-8 at home. Rookie DeMarcus Cousins, who was kicked out of a Monday practice, responded with a career-high tying 18 points. Tyreke Evans had 16 points and nine assists, but committed six turnovers.
Darren Collison had 17 points and Roy Hibbert added 16 for the Pacers.
The Kings pulled within 99-93 on Francisco Garcia’s 3-pointer with 1:34 left. But Collison made a runner in the lane and Josh McRoberts hit two free throws to put the Pacers ahead by 10 points with less than a minute to play.
The Kings also cut the lead to six points early in the fourth quarter. But Granger converted a three-point play, Collison made two free throws and Jones scored from close range to put Indiana ahead 94-83 midway through the period.
Granger enjoyed a hot second quarter and it continued into the third. He scored 10 points and the Pacers defense pestered the Kings into six turnovers, helping Indiana take an 80-69 lead into the fourth quarter.
Tied at the half, the Pacers came out strong to start the third quarter. They scored the first six points and used a 17-1 run to assume a 69-54 lead. Granger had eight points, including the final four on a rare four-point play at the 7:25 mark.
It was another frustrating second half for the Kings. In their previous game Saturday against the Bulls, the Kings scored just 28 second half points.
Prior to the game, Kings coach Paul Westphal commented on Cousins dismissal from Monday’s practice for unspecified disciplinary reasons.
“DeMarcus isn’t the first player who has been dismissed from practice and he won’t be the last. There is certainly things that happen behind closed doors that I keep behind closed doors. There is no question that DeMarcus is a passionate player and he’s impatient to see himself where he thinks he can be and we’re anxious too.”
Granger scored 15 points in the opening half.His 3-pointer late in the second quarter pulled the Pacers even at 52-52 heading into halftime. Udrih made all six shots and scored 15 points, while Evans had 11 points and eight assists for the Kings.
NOTES: On Monday, the Kings assigned rookie center Hassan Whiteside to the Reno Bighorns of the NBA Development League for an undetermined amount of time. The team also waived Antoine Wright, who had played in seven games this season. … Jones was productive off the bench offensively, but had five fouls in 15 minutes. … Udrih made his first seven shots before misfiring on a jumper early in the fourth quarter.
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