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Harris hits winner at buzzer as Nets beat Pacers

INDIANAPOLIS -- The New Jersey Nets turned to Devin Harris, not Vince Carter, when they needed a clutch play in the final seconds against the Indiana Pacers.

Harris' jumper from the top of the key as time expired gave the Nets a 108-107 victory over the Pacers on Tuesday night. The point guard finished with 29 points and 11 assists as New Jersey snapped a two-game losing streak.

Harris liked that coach Lawrence Frank drew the final play up for him.

"It's a good feeling to have," he said. "Obviously, coach puts trust in me to make a play happen. It's a new role, new opportunity for me on this team and I'm just looking to relish in it."

Carter, the veteran cornerstone of the franchise, led the Nets with 38 points and eight rebounds. He was happy for Harris, who entered the game ranked sixth in the NBA in scoring and 11th in assists.

"Devin has been playing phenomenal," Carter said. "It was great for him to hit the game-winner. I told him 'this is your first one, so welcome.'"

Indiana coach Jim O'Brien thinks both Harris and Carter are among the league's elite.

"They have an All-Star backcourt," he said. "We played well enough to win, and we just didn't."

Harris hears the talk that he might make the All-Star team if he continues his pace, but he's more concerned with the fact that the Nets evened their record at 14-14.

"I'm just worried about the team right now," he said. "It's [the All-Star Game] a goal of mine, but it's so far away. The reality is, if your team is successful, chances are that will take care of itself."

Danny Granger led the Pacers with 26 points in his first game back after missing two with a viral infection. Brandon Rush scored a career-high 22 points, and Jeff Foster added 12 points and 14 rebounds.

Granger had made a jumper from the free throw line with 10 seconds to play that gave the Pacers a one-point lead before Harris' final shot.

The game was close throughout the second half before Jarvis Hayes hit a baseline jumper, Josh Boone made a putback and Harris connected on a pair of free throws to give the Nets a 96-88 lead, their largest advantage of the game.

Indiana cut its deficit to 99-97 on a bucket by Rush, but Harris made two free throws, then Carter made a 3-pointer, leaving his right arm up during the shot's flight for emphasis, to increase New Jersey's lead to 104-97 with just under 4 minutes to play.

Indiana responded with an 8-0 run, capped by a 3-pointer by Travis Diener, to give the Pacers a 105-104 lead.

New Jersey went up on two free throws by Keyon Dooling with 55 seconds to go. The Pacers got the ball, and Granger drove baseline and was fouled. Granger, who had made 45 consecutive free throws, missed both with 41 seconds to play, leaving New Jersey with a 106-105 lead.

Carter tried to increase the lead, but he missed his baseline jumper, and the Pacers got the ball back with 20 seconds left. Granger redeemed himself with the clutch jumper with 10 seconds left, but he left New Jersey with enough time to go for the game winner.

Harris nearly missed the chance to make the final shot. He left the game briefly after falling awkwardly and hurting his left leg with about 2 minutes to play.

"I just kind of tweaked my ankle a little bit," he said. "Got clipped from behind, really couldn't control my body at that point. I got it taped up real good."

Granger was a game-time decision, but he played 33 minutes while still battling the infection that still is affecting several of his teammates. Troy Murphy missed his fourth straight game, and Marquis Daniels missed his third straight while fighting the illness.

"All teams seem to have their injuries and illnesses," Diener said. "It just seems like we have more than normal. We're going to start winning, it's just a matter of time before everybody gets healthy."

New Jersey feels it is proving doubters wrong.

"We're right in the thick of things," Harris said. "You look at where we are right now, we were picked second-to-last, the last team in the NBA, and we're right where we want to be."

Game notes
Indiana G Mike Dunleavy has begun practicing with the team after missing the entire regular season so far with a sore right knee. ... Indiana F Maceo Baston sat out with lower back spasms. ... New Jersey F Bobby Simmons missed the game. ... Indiana G T.J. Ford left the game with back spasms and didn't play in the second half. ... Carter is averaging 32.3 points this season against Indiana. ... Carter scored 18 points on 7-for-12 shooting in the first quarter.