Granger leads Pacers back from 15 down as Murphy's tip-in upends Lakers

INDIANAPOLIS -- Troy Murphy and Danny Granger spent most of Tuesday night working to keep the Pacers close to the Lakers.

They spent those final few seconds like everyone else in Conseco Fieldhouse -- watching, waiting and wondering if Murphy's tantalizing tip would actually drop through the net.

It did -- just as the buzzer sounded.

Murphy's game-winner completed an improbable comeback and gave the Pacers a desperately needed 118-117 victory after replay reviews confirmed the basket was good.

"That's purely unbelievable," Granger said. "Troy is a monster on the boards. He gobbles up so many rebounds, and I'm glad he got it because I couldn't get to it."

The Lakers (14-2) entered with a seven-game winning streak, the league's best record and a perfect 5-0 mark on the road. So when they closed the third quarter with a 17-0 run to take a 101-86 lead, it seemed as if the Lakers were destined for yet another rout.

Granger and Murphy changed those plans.

Granger, who scored 32 points, and Murphy, who had 16 points and 17 rebounds, methodically led their teammates back by making big baskets and getting the ball to open teammates. The Pacers (7-10) also allowed just 16 points over the final 12 minutes.

The combination, and Murphy's ability to get his hands on a batted ball, bailed them out.

"There was some luck involved, but that's the way basketball is if you don't take care of business," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. "They got some energy going to the hoop and the right thing happened for them."

It was a dramatic shift for the Pacers, who had lost five of six, including their last two home games in overtime. They play six of their next seven on the road.

The Lakers jumped ahead repeatedly against Indiana but the Pacers kept rallying.

When reigning MVP Kobe Bryant scored the Lakers' final nine points of the first half to give Los Angeles a 66-59 lead, Granger caught Murphy's long inbounds pass, spun and hit a 17-footer at the buzzer to make it 66-61 at halftime.

When Bryant opened the second half by scoring the Lakers' first seven points, Granger did everything he could to keep it close.

And when Los Angeles put together its big run at the end of the third, Granger and Murphy returned the favor by igniting a 10-0 spurt early in the fourth to get the Pacers within seven.

Bryant finished with 28 points, becoming the second-fastest player in league history to reach 22,000 career points. Wilt Chamberlain was one day younger than Bryant when he reached that milestone.

"They did a great job on the offensive boards and our turnovers created momentum for them," Bryant said. "Their 3-point shooting kept them in the game."

Granger's fourth 3, with 1:42 left, closed the margin to 115-114 and Marquis Daniels made two free throws on Indiana's next possession to put the Pacers in front.

Bryant answered with a pull-up 21-footer before missing an 18-footer that gave Indiana a chance to call timeout and set up one last play.

Although it didn't work, Daniels broke free on the baseline, put up a short shot that bounced off the rim and got batted around before Murphy charged in and tipped it toward the basket. After bouncing off both sides of the rim and into the air, it finally dropped and sent Pacers players running toward their sideline.

"It looked like it sat on there forever," Murphy said. "But I'm happy it finally went down."

Game notes
Last year's NBA finalists, the Celtics and Lakers, each have two losses this season and the Pacers have beaten both teams once. ... The Lakers were 33-of-45 from the free-throw line but had more than twice as many chances as the Pacers, who made 20 of 21 foul shots. ... Indiana played without forward Jeff Foster, who was out with a sore back. ... Murphy extended his streak of games with double-digit rebounds to nine.