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NBA playoffs: Pacers waste big lead, but hold on
First Published May 05 2012 08:08 pm • Last Updated May 06 2012 10:36 pm

Orlando, Fla. • The Indiana Pacers have looked like a team with enough talent to win in the playoffs.

After wasting a big lead in Game 4 against the Magic, the Pacers showed they have the late-game toughness to win as well.

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George Hill hit a pair of free throws with 2.2 seconds left in overtime to help Indiana survive squandering a 19-point fourth quarter lead and beat the Orlando Magic 101-99 on Saturday to take a 3-1 lead in the first-round series.

David West scored 26 points, including 12 in the third quarter and four in overtime for Indiana. Danny Granger added 21 points.

The Pacers won their third straight game and will try to close out the Eastern Conference series Tuesday in Indianapolis and get out of the opening round for the first time since 2005.

"They did a great job of coming back," said Granger, who returned to the game in the fourth quarter after spraining his right knee in the third. "That was a momentum win. They had a lot of momentum going. We’re lucky to get out of here."

Indiana coach Frank Vogel echoed that fortunate feeling, but said he also likes being in the spot his team is in now.

"Yeah, it’s a good place to be," he said. "We feel like we can get a win on our home court. It’s tough to get a road win anywhere against anyone in the playoffs. To come in here in a tough environment and get two, it just speaks volumes of our guys’ resiliency."

Orlando had a final chance to tie the game in the closing seconds, but Glen Davis’ fade away jumper bounced off the side of the rim.

Jason Richardson led the Magic with 25 points and Davis added 24 points and 11 rebounds.


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The Magic now head to Indiana staring at the possibility of their second consecutive first-round postseason exit as they continue their tumble since Dwight Howard’s season-ending back surgery late in the regular-season. Including the regular-season, Orlando is 5-11 without the all-star center.

Only eight teams have been able to wipe out 3-1 deficits in NBA history, the last being Phoenix against the Los Angeles Lakers in 2006.

"You wish just one of those shots could’ve dropped because I thought our guys worked really, really hard," Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said. "We had some really, really bad stretches in that game, but we kept coming ... We’re down 3-1 and it’s a matter of mindset and whether you think you’re still in the series or not."

The Pacers started the extra period with six straight points, including four by West.

Richardson responded with 3 to make it 95-92 and Jameer Nelson fouled out Roy Hibbert with his three-point play following a Pacers’ miss to tie it.

Hill hit two free-throws on the other end to put Indiana back on top, but Davis tied it again with a twisting layup.

After an Indiana timeout, Hill hit a floater from the wing, but Davis again matched it on the Magic’s next possession.

The Pacers quickly pushed the ball up the floor and Nelson fouled Hill in the lane to set up his decisive free throws.

Hibbert finished with 14 points and 11 rebounds. Hill started slow, but was huge down the stretch and ended up with 12.

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