Danny Granger scored 25 points to help the Indiana Pacers defeat the Orlando Magic, 105-87, in Indianapolis on Tuesday night, clinching their first-round Eastern Conference series four games to one.
Darren Collison scored 15 of his 19 points in the fourth quarter and George Hill added 15 points for the Pacers, who trailed by two at the end of the third quarter but outscored the Magic, 36-16, in the final 12 minutes.
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.
Former St. Joseph's star Jameer Nelson led Orlando with 27 points and made 5 of 8 three-pointers. Glen Davis, a thorn in Indiana's side throughout the series, scored 15 but made just 6 of 17 shots. The Magic made just 5 of 16 shots in the fourth quarter.
Paul lifts Clippers
One day after Chris Paul's 27th birthday, the all-star point guard and his Los Angeles Clippers showed they're growing up splendidly together.
It's not happening without growing pains during a brutal series with the Memphis Grizzlies, but after surviving overtime in their toughest test yet, Paul and his teammates are on the verge of an achievement with better rewards than cake and candles.
Paul scored eight of his 27 points in a dynamic overtime performance, and the Clippers moved to the verge of their second playoff series victory in 36 years with a 101-97 win over Memphis on Monday night, taking a three-games-to-one series lead.
The Clippers blew a 10-point lead late in regulation before finishing without Blake Griffin, who fouled out midway through overtime. It could have been another disaster for a franchise with more than its share, but Paul wouldn't allow it.
"It's fun, it's exciting," said Paul, who atoned for his inability to score at the regulation buzzer.
"The worst mistake I probably made in the game was not getting the shot at the end of regulation," he added. "If I was at home watching it on TV, I'd be talking so bad about me. But you've got to get through it. The [best] thing about it is that I have teammates that have confidence in me. Everything that we do is a team win."
Bell blasts Jazz coach
Utah Jazz guard Raja Bell cleaned out his locker then pronounced his career with the Utah Jazz over, calling the damage "irreparable" and ripping coach Tyrone Corbin as "unprofessional" because of a lack of communication.
Bell, 35, said his relationship with Corbin is "fractured." Though he has one more year left on his contract that will pay him more than $3.4 million, he wants the team to work out an offseason trade.
Bell opened the year as Utah's starting shooting guard but saw his playing time diminish. In March, he was sent home from a road trip after a verbal spat with Corbin.
Bell and Jazz brass sat down to air their differences and he started the next game. But another injury set him back, and though healthy, he did not play in Utah's first-round Western Conference series, which San Antonio swept.
The 12th-year pro averaged 6.4 points, 1.4 rebounds and 1.1 assists in 34 games during the regular season but missed 27 games because of injury.
Corbin declined to discuss the rift.
Jazz general manager Kevin O'Connor was unsympathetic.
"I would probably say, 'Gee, that's unexpected [to hear],' " O'Connor said, sarcastically. "I would have never thought that would have happened."
More seriously, he said issues such as Bell's would be dealt with behind closed doors.
"He's got a contract for next year and we expect him to honor it, and if we can make our team better, we will," O'Connor said.
As for Corbin, O'Connor had only praise.
- Inquirer wire services