Pacers win series; Hawks nip Celtics
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Danny Granger scored 25 points and Indiana beat Orlando 105-87 on Tuesday night to clinch their first-round Eastern Conference series in five games.
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. The Pacers will play Miami or New York in the second round.
Darren Collison scored 15 of his 19 points in the fourth quarter and George Hill added 15 points for the Pacers, who outscored the Magic 36-16 in the fourth quarter.
Jameer Nelson was 5 of 8 from 3-point range and had 27 points for Orlando, which was 5 of 16 from the field in the fourth quarter. Glen Davis added 15 points on 6-of-17 shooting.
HAWKS 87, CELTICS 86
ATLANTA (AP) — Al Horford scored 19 points in his first start since January, and Atlanta held on for the victory in Game 5.
Game 6 is Thursday in Boston.
The Celtics had a chance to clinch the series when Rajon Rondo stole Josh Smith’s inbounds pass with 10 seconds remaining. But he got hemmed in along the sideline and Smith knocked away a desperation pass.
Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett led the Celtics with 16 points apiece. Rondo had 13 points and 12 assists.
Horford, who went down in January with a torn pectoral muscle, had 11 rebounds, three assists, three steals and three blocked shots.
Smith had 13 points and 16 rebounds while Jeff Teague had 16 points and Joe Johnson and Marvin Williams had 15 apiece.
BULLS 77, 76ERS 69
CHICAGO (AP) — Luol Deng scored 24 points and Carlos Boozer added 19 points and 13 rebounds as Chicago avoided a first-round playoff exit.
The top-seeded Bulls finally won without point guard Derrick Rose, building a nine-point halftime lead and staying in control down the stretch to pull within 3-2. Game 6 is Thursday in Philadelphia.
It’s been a brutal series for the Bulls, with Rose tearing the ACL in his left knee late in the opener and center Joakim Noah spraining his left ankle in Game 3. He sat out his second straight game.
The Bulls held the Sixers to a season-low 32.1 percent shooting.
Jrue Holiday scored 16 points on 5-of-17 shooting for Philadelphia while Lou Williams scored 13 and Andre Iguodala and Spencer Hawes both finished with 11. Hawes grabbed 14 rebounds.
Nuggets 102, Lakers 99
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Andre Miller scored 24 points, including two free throws with 12.8 seconds left, and the Denver Nuggets survived Kobe Bryant’s late scoring barrage in a 43-point performance, avoiding playoff elimination with a 102-99 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 5 on Tuesday night.
JaVale McGee had 21 points and 14 rebounds for the sixth-seeded Nuggets, who trimmed the Lakers’ series lead to 3-2, but only after a hair-raising finish.
Denver had a 15-point lead midway through the fourth quarter against the lifeless Lakers, but Bryant engineered a stunning comeback before his final three shots missed. Bryant scored 12 points in the final 4:47, hitting four 3-pointers that trimmed the Nuggets’ lead to 98-96 with 59 seconds left.
After Bryant missed two late tying attempts, Los Angeles had two more chances to tie near the buzzer, but Bryant and Ramon Sessions missed 3-pointers.
Game 6 is Thursday night in Denver.