INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Danny Granger and the Pacers are getting some well-deserved time off and he plans to spend some of it rooting for the Knicks against the Heat.
It’s not that Indiana’s forward wants to see them win. He’s just hoping New York can extend the series against Miami so the teams keep beating up on each other in a series the Heat lead 3-1.
Granger ensured the Pacers will be fresh for whichever team advances, scoring 25 points to help Indiana eliminate the Orlando Magic with a 105-87 victory in Game 5 on Tuesday night.
“We haven’t been in this position for six, seven years,” he said. “Just to finally be back in the playoffs, finally to be competing for a championship as a high seed, is a great place for us to be right now.”
It was Indiana’s first series win since 2005 and its first clincher on its home court since the first round of the 2000 playoffs. Darren Collison scored 15 of his 19 points in the fourth quarter and George Hill added 15 points for the Pacers, who trailed by two at the end of the third quarter but outscored the Magic 36-16 in the final 12 minutes.
Hill, an Indianapolis native who grew up a Pacers fan, enjoyed the crowd.
“Fun to be a part of,” he said. “It’s a blessing. The support that we had today, it reminded me of the Pacers back in the day. To be a part of it was fun.”
Jameer Nelson led Orlando with 27 points and made 5 of 8 3-pointers. Glen Davis, a thorn in Indiana’s side throughout the series, scored 15 but made just 6 of 17 shots. The Magic made just 5 of 16 shots in the fourth quarter.
Collison made a layup and hit a 3-pointer to give the Pacers a 78-73 lead with 9:33 to play. After Nelson drained another 3, Collison came back with a layup, then Leandro Barbosa’s steal and layup pushed Indiana’s lead to 87-80 with 6:49 to play and forced an Orlando timeout. A few minutes later, Indiana’s Paul George stole an inbounds pass and found Granger under the hoop for a layup and a 91-80 lead. The Pacers dominated from there.
Indiana led by as many as 15 points in the first half, but as was the case throughout the series, it didn’t last. Orlando got hot late in the half, and a 3-pointer by Jason Richardson and a bucket by Davis cut Indiana’s lead to 48-47. Indiana’s Roy Hibbert made a hook shot to push the lead back to three at the break.
A putback by Ryan Anderson gave Orlando a 51-50 lead early in the third quarter.
A bucket by David West and a jumper and a 3-pointer by Hill built Indiana’s lead to 57-51. Orlando rallied again and tied the game at 61 on a fadeaway by Davis before a 3 by Nelson gave Orlando a 66-64 lead. He hit another 3 in the closing seconds — he had 15 in the quarter — to give Orlando a 71-69 lead.
Hill added nine points in the period to keep the Pacers in the game before Collison and Granger put it away.
Notes: The teams combined for just five turnovers in the first quarter. … Indiana shot 50 percent in the first 12 minutes. … Orlando made just 1 of 7 3-pointers in the first period. … Collison’s first turnover of the series came in the closing seconds of the third quarter. He finished the series with 23 assists and one turnover. … Orlando outscored Indiana 24-19 in the third quarter. Indiana had outscored the Magic 108-60 combined in the third quarter of the previous four games.
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Copyright 2012 The Associated Press