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Indiana’s talent wins out in fourth, series; Pacers win and advance

May 8, 2012, 11:17 PM EDT

Orlando Magic v Indiana Pacers - Game Five Getty Images

It ended pretty much like everyone expected it to end, five games with the Pacers in control at the end.

But at times it didn’t feel like it was supposed to — the Pacers looked like a team still learning how to win in the playoffs. Orlando played hard and gritty ball, they never stopped shooting threes and when they fell they were dangerous.

But like in Game 5, all that could keep Orlando close for only so long. In the end talent won out and with Orlando missing its all-world center Dwight Howard it was only a matter of time. In Game 5 the Pacers were down 2 entering the fourth but outscored the Magic by 20 — led by Danny Granger’s dozen in the final quarter — and pulled away for a 105-87 win and a 4-1 series win.

It is the first time the Indiana Pacers have advanced past the first round since Reggie Miller’s last season and Rick Carlisle was coach (2005).

Their reward? The Miami Heat. (Unless you think the Knicks can pull off the greatest playoff comeback in NBA history. We’ll stick with the Heat for now.)

For Orlando, they head into a summer of uncertainty — what will happen with coach Stan Van Gundy, with attempts to shape the roster to Howard’s liking, or in the end they may just move him. The bottom line is they were 5-12 without Howard to end the season and were not a playoff team.

This game was a battle of the point guards. Orlando stayed close because of Jameer Nelson, who had 27 points. He was fantastic off the pick-and-roll with Glen Davis, stepping back to hit the three (5-of-8 from deep) or driving into the lane. Indiana struggled to defend him in this game and all series.

But the Pacers responded with the duo of Darren Collison and George Hill. This was Collison’s night — 9-of-10 shooting for 19 points off the bench, his speed was just too much for the Magic to slow. Hill finished with 15 points and had a good third quarter that kept Indiana in it.

But the third quarter had belonged to the Magic, who played with the desperation of a team trying not to be eliminated. They outscored the Pacers 24-19 in the quarter, played good defense and made of a game of it.

But Granger came alive, Collison made shots and after a 36-16 fourth quarter the Pacers are moving on.

Indiana has been a team on the rise, a team with good talent and good balance that plays smart at both end. Now we’re about to find out just how good they are.

But first, Indiana should celebrate the win and the step forward. They earned it, even if the path could have been tougher.

  1. diamondmo33 - May 8, 2012 at 11:27 PM

    They’ll be swept by Miami

    • pudgalvin - May 8, 2012 at 11:34 PM

      I’d love to say Indy could drag it out, but I’m not sure that’s going to be a real competetive series.

    • dexterismyhero - May 9, 2012 at 1:52 PM

      No they won’t.

      • gostlcards5 - May 9, 2012 at 2:05 PM

        Totally disagree….this team has made Pacers basketball fun to watch since Reggie’s retirement. They don’t have a huge superstar, per se, although Hibbert has the makings and potential to become that. The team style of ball that they play actually reminds me of the most recent Detroit Pistons champion team (T. Prince, R. Hamilton, C. Billups, B. Wallace, etc.). They can run with the Heat, if they choose to, and if they believe that they can.

  2. pl4tinum514 - May 8, 2012 at 11:30 PM

    I hope the Pacers sh-t on Miami.

    • soflasfinest - May 8, 2012 at 11:35 PM

      Hope all you want. We may not sweep them but we’re def heading to the ECF.

      • pudgalvin - May 8, 2012 at 11:37 PM

        Hey man, so are the Bulls. Crazy things can happen. Bulls are now down best perimeter, front court, and bench player.

    • comeonnowguys - May 9, 2012 at 9:39 AM

      I think I’d actually root for Lebron to crap all over Indy.

      Really a moot point though. It would happen either way.

  3. professoressadiesel - May 8, 2012 at 11:36 PM

    Pacers-Heat goes 5-6 games. It’ll be interesting to see the matchups in the series.

    Should be a fun series.

  4. liljere24 - May 8, 2012 at 11:39 PM

    Heat in 6

  5. ezmagic - May 9, 2012 at 12:19 AM

    As much as I hate Miami, they will sweep the pacers. They had trouble putting away the dwightless magic. Yes it was 4-1 but they blew big leads against the magic in every game but the 2nd I think. With dwight there is no way the pacers would advance.

  6. liljere24 - May 9, 2012 at 12:44 AM

    Heat have to much firepower for the Pacers to keep up

  7. mungman69 - May 9, 2012 at 3:40 AM

    Heat in four. Too much talent

  8. davidly - May 9, 2012 at 6:16 AM

    Tears will be shed in Miami after game 7; not that there’s anything wrong with that!

    • comeonnowguys - May 9, 2012 at 1:42 PM

      Over the NBA Finals, yes.

  9. lemfax - May 9, 2012 at 6:27 AM

    Bulls 4-1
    #Indiana 4-0
    Miami 4-3
    Boston 4-3
    *Spurs 4-0
    Memphis 4-2
    *Thunder 4-0
    Denver 4-3

    Bulls vs Indiana 4-2
    Miami vs Boston 4-2
    Spurs vs Memphis 4-2
    Thunder vs Denver 4-1

    Miami vs Bulls 4-2
    Spurs vs Thunder 4-1

    Spurs vs Miami 4-3 (Wade would missed game 7)

  10. comeonnowguys - May 9, 2012 at 9:41 AM

    Miami would beat Indiana so bad, Vogel would be begging for the NBA to call the sweep after three games.

    • dexterismyhero - May 9, 2012 at 1:56 PM

      cmonnowguys is coming out of the closet. There will be no sweep….

    • comeonnowguys - May 9, 2012 at 3:22 PM

      Dexter raises toy dogs and uses them to help reenact Twilight movies? Seriously?

  11. gostlcards5 - May 9, 2012 at 1:59 PM

    I think most of you underestimate this Indiana team. They are young, talented, athletic, very deep, and they have one thing that Miami doesn’t, a skilled center that can change things on the defensive end, and he can score points in bunches as well (at times). A couple of weeks before the end of the season (I believe), they beat Miami by almost 20 points.

    Yes, the playoffs are different, and this team played several games in the Orlando series where they had huge third quarters, but did a terrible job of closing (COMPLETELY agree with you on that, Kurt). But notice, they did this in the first 4 games. Last night, in the closeout game, they outscored Orlando 36-16. If they can build on that experience and continue to close the games well, they will give Miami a difficult series (6 or 7 games).

  12. comeonnowguys - May 9, 2012 at 3:26 PM

    I think most of you underestimate this Indiana team. They are young, talented, athletic, very deep, and they have one thing that Miami doesn’t, a skilled center that can change things on the defensive end

    Didn’t Chicago have that last year? In addition to the eventual MVP at another position to which Miami was vulnerable? And swept them in the regular season? How did that work out for them?

    I’m sure Indy will play them tough. This will no doubt be the closest. sweep. ever.

    • gostlcards5 - May 9, 2012 at 11:36 PM

      Hey cong: If you want people to take you seriously, don’t make stupid comments to make your point (Sorry, I shouldn’t tell you that, because I’m sure you can’t help it…)

      For Chicago:
      Skilled center – check (as much as I hate to call Noah “skilled” b/c I think he’s a schmuck)
      MVP at other pos (yadda yadda) – check
      Swept them in the regular season – I covered this point…pay attention…didn’t happen

      I get that Miami is tough. I just think that their path to the Finals isn’t going to be cakewalk that practically everyone seems to think (clearly, I will not include you here, because thinking doesn’t suit you), and that Indy will give them more competition than most believe.

      • comeonnowguys - May 10, 2012 at 9:24 AM

        So, if I’m so stupid, why did you just basically just conceded two of my three points?

        Pay attention: Did I actually say Indy swept them in the regular season?

        Or, did I offer the comparison that most Bulls fans went into last year’s ECF with the same notion that a team with depth, with pieces that could exploit Miami’s weakness, with some measure of regular season, success would stretch Miami to the limit, if not beat them.

        If you want people to take you seriously, maybe you shouldn’t do that which you are accusing others of doing. But I suspect you care about my opinion exactly as much as I care about yours.

        But hey, if taking a little longer to lose is the moral victory that tucks you in and keeps you warm at night, more power to you, I guess.

      • gostlcards5 - May 10, 2012 at 1:49 PM

        Much more reasoned, lucid argument…I am impressed by your adaptability.

        I am absolutely not doing what I “accused” you of. I made rational arguments to why I believe that the Pacers will give Miami more of a run for their money than most people think. I did not just say “so and so will sweep…” or “so and so will win”, as you did.

        I conceded two of your three points, because they were correct. The third, you spouted without knowing the fact nor reading it, because I gave it to you above (that Indy blew out Miami late in the year, when playoff seedings were being finalized, hence the game being rather important — This was however, the only of 4 games that the Pacers won against the Heat.)

        I do not need a moral victory at all. I am a fan of the Pacers, but they have never won anything in the NBA, even when they had a stacked team in 2000. My point is that they are much better than most people, including you, give them credit for. Most people believe that Miami will steamroll them (4 or 5 games). I disagree with this, mostly. If Miami plays lights out, the way they are capable of, every game, they probably do win in 4 or 5 games, but this depends on the play of LeBron especially late in the games. But, if the Pacers play strong in the 2nd halves of their games, as they did in all but Game 4 against Orlando, then they can extend this series to 6 or 7 games. Do I think the Pacers will win? No. Would I like to see them win? Absolutely. Do I think the series goes 6 or 7 games? Yes. But the bottom line is, if the Pacers do get swept, it can prove my points right just as much as if they win the series or take it to the wire.

        Lastly, you are right about one other thing. I care about your opinion exactly as much as you care about mine. I do appreciate the debate, but I think you shouldn’t proclaim exactly what is going to happen as though it is fact. I watched a lot of people do that with the Cardinals prior to last year’s MLB playoffs, and frankly, they just ended up looking stupid.

      • comeonnowguys - May 10, 2012 at 2:38 PM

        Much more reasoned, lucid argument…I am impressed by your adaptability.

        Oh joy. I’ve impressed a Cardinal fan into damning me with faint praise. Will wonders never cease?

        You said

        couple of weeks before the end of the season (I believe), they beat Miami by almost 20 points.

        I said, in part

        [Bulls] swept them in the regular season?

        As in, “Look, another example of trying to extract optimism from regular season success.”

        You said

        Swept them in the regular season – I covered this point…pay attention…didn’t happen

        I said

        Pay attention: Did I actually say Indy swept them in the regular season?

        And then continued to draw parallels to further my point. I fail to see how you are

        I am absolutely not doing what I “accused” you of.

        The rest is academic. Or it would be, if I didn’t enjoy trolling so damn much.

        You know what five hard-fought games against the Bulls got the Pacers last year? A first-round exit. Do you know what five hard-fought games against the Heat got the Bulls? An early start to their golf game. So, say this schmuck who clearly can’t be taken seriously is right, and the Heat win in four, and you’re right, where every game is close. What exactly does four close losses and zero wins get you?

        I can’t believe I’m going to root for the Heat to win a series. What a world, what a world.

      • gostlcards5 - May 11, 2012 at 2:06 PM

        I’m not sure how it surprises you that you are rooting for the Heat. Frankly, you seem to be the same kind of self-promoting schmuck that they are.

        I have no problem seeing the other side of a point, debate, argument, w/e….but engaging you in such things is clearly a waste of time and energy, and I already feel old and tired. Doesn’t make you right — not that I am either. We will see if either of us is right about anything by the end of next week.

      • gostlcards5 - May 18, 2012 at 4:06 PM

        comeonnowguys – May 9, 2012 at 9:41 AM

        Miami would beat Indiana so bad, Vogel would be begging for the NBA to call the sweep after three games.
        ————————————————————————————————————–
        comeonnowguys – May 9, 2012 at 3:26 PM

        Didn’t Chicago have that last year? In addition to the eventual MVP at another position to which Miami was vulnerable? And swept them in the regular season? How did that work out for them?

        I’m sure Indy will play them tough. This will no doubt be the closest. sweep. ever.

        ———————————————————————————————————-

        Well, what to say now? Did you or did you not underestimate the team?

  13. 11jlacy - May 9, 2012 at 11:18 PM

    Larry is doing better than mike on this management level.

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