LOS ANGELES: Danny Granger scored 25 points as the Indiana Pacers punched their ticket to the second round of the NBA playoffs by beating Orlando 105-87 in game five of their Eastern Conference series.
The Pacers advanced past the first round for the first time since 2005, winning the best of seven series 4-1.
“We feel like this is just the beginning of a big run. We’re excited about where we’re at as a basketball team,” Pacers head coach Frank Vogel said.
The NBA postseason could shift dramatically Tuesday night as the Pacers were one of four teams in action holding 3-1 series leads. Philadelphia and the Western Conference’s Los Angeles Lakers were hoping to join them in the next round.
The Atlanta Hawks avoided elimination Tuesday by beating Boston 87-86 to cut the Celtics series lead to three games to two.
The Orlando Magic elimination marked the first time in his NBA career that a team coached by Stan Van Gundy had won the first game and not gone on to win the series.
The last time the Indiana Pacers lost the opening game in the NBA and then came back to capture the series was in the 2005 postseason against Boston.