Pacers 105, Magic 87
INDIANAPOLIS – - The Indiana Pacers are headed to the second round of the playoffs for the first time in seven years.
And it didn’t come without some suspense.
The Orlando Magic came from 15 points down to take a three-point lead in the second half before the Pacers responded to pull off the 105-87 victory at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Tuesday.
The Pacers won the series 4-1. They’ll face the winner of the Miami-New York Knicks series. The Heat lead the series 3-1 and can wrap it up with a victory on Wednesday.
Danny Granger led the Pacers with 25 points, but it was Darren Collison’s strong play off the bench that led to the victory. Collison scored 19 points on 9-of-10 shooting.
Orlando was led by Jameer Nelson’s 27 points.
The Pacers looked like they were on their way back to Orlando for Game 6 after they became complacent from getting up by double digits in the first half.
The Magic, led by Nelson, took a two-point lead into the fourth quarter when Orlando’s starting point guard made a 3-pointer in the final seconds of the third quarter.
The Pacers, with their sold-out crowd, stayed composed and took the lead for good when Collison found Leandro Barbosa on a two-on-one break to give them a 75-73 lead.
The Pacers shot 15-of-20 from the field in the fourth quarter.
The Pacers, who blew a 19-point, fourth-quarter lead in Game 4, opened the game like they were trying to end things early. The Pacers went on a 17-4 run midway through the first quarter to go up by 15 with about two minutes left in the quarter.
But that’s when the Magic — like they have done all series — didn’t back down from the challenge.
The scrappy Magic kept chipping away in the second quarter until they got to within one, 48-47, on a Glen Davis jumper from straight away to cap off a 19-3 run.
Pacers center Roy Hibbert stopped Orlando’s run when he made a right-handed hook along the baseline with about 10 seconds left in the first half. The Pacers went into the half clinging to a 48-47 lead.
Granger led the Pacers with 10 points at the half. Davis and Nelson had 11 and 10 points, respectively, for Orlando in the first half.
Notes: The Pacers made 37 percent of their 3-point attempts during the regular season. But they went into Game 5 having only made 27 percent of their 3-point attempts in the series…New Orleans guard and Indianapolis native Eric Gordon, Indiana University coach Tom Crean and Indianapolis Colts defensive lineman Robert Mathis all attended the game.