Indiana Pacers forward Danny Granger isn't one to hide his emotions. Over the past few years I've seen a dejected Granger sitting in front of his locker following a game revealing a sullen face and barely audible answers far too many times. I've also seen him upbeat and verbose following wins and big scoring nights.
But the palpable elation on Granger's face following his team's Game 5 win over the Orlando Magic on Tuesday night was new. Of course, so was the experience as the win advanced the Pacers to the Eastern Conference semifinals for the first time in Granger's career with the Pacers.
I'm sure a similar feeling washed over many fans who suffered through the lean years with Granger and the Pacers but continued supporting the team. The Pacers are officially back in the mix in the NBA, now as one of what will be the final eight teams still playing for a championship. With at least a few days off before starting the next round, take a moment to sit back and enjoy this big step for the franchise.
There were four playoff games last night in series that were 3-1 but the Pacers were the only team to finish off their opponent and move on to the next round. Darren Collison brought it home in the fourth quarter making all seven of his shots and scoring 15 of his 19 points down the stretch. Granger did his part too, scoring 12 of his 25 points in the fourth. The Pacers simply stepped up when it was time to close out the Magic.
Lots of links after the jump, including this video of Granger in the locker room along with the reactions of George Hill and David West.
- Box score: Pacers 105, Magic 87
- Rewind: Game 5 Pacers vs. Magic 120508 | THE OFFICIAL SITE OF THE INDIANA PACERS
- Pacers reaction to clinching first round series win over Magic - YouTube
- George Hill Helps Close Pacers Win In Game 4 Vs. Magic - YouTube
- Indiana Pacers: Chemistry, brotherhood fuel this team | Indianapolis Star | indystar.com
- Bob Kravitz: Pacers fans can erase that ugly piece of team history from their mind | Indianapolis Star | indystar.com
- With Game 5 win over Magic, Pacers clinch first playoff series in seven years | Indianapolis Star | indystar.com
- Pacers beat Magic 105-87, advance to 2nd round - AP
- Pacers: Moving on | Pacers Insider | The Indianapolis Star | IndyStar.com
- Pacers game report: Collison puts on a show in 4th quarter | Indianapolis Star | indystar.com
- Pacers notebook: Magic say Pacers can compete with Heat | Indianapolis Star | indystar.com
- NBA: Pacers Playoffs Notebook: Indiana soaks in the moment of advancing past Orlando to round two - fox59.com
- Pacers beat Magic to advance to the second round - fox59.com
- Pacers 105, Magic 87: Darren Collison Fuels Fourth-Quarter Indiana Rally, Ends Orlando's Season - Orlando Pinstriped Post
- Pacers take next step with Round 1 win - TrueHoop Blog - ESPN
- Magic go down fighting in Van Gundy's potential swan song | NBA.com
- Post-Game Grades: Pacers Win Game, Series | Eight Points, Nine Seconds
- Behind the Box Score, where the Denver Nuggets proved they belong | Ball Don't Lie - Yahoo! Sports
- Orlando Magic Otis Smith: Orlando Magic GM Otis Smith says he'll evaluate his future after the season - Orlando Sentinel
- Basketball Rules in Indiana. Why Don't the Pacers? - The Triangle Blog - Grantland
- Indiana’s talent wins out in fourth, series; Pacers win and advance | ProBasketballTalk
- Orlando Magic: Orlando Magic face the Indiana Pacers in Game 5 of their NBA playoff series - fox59.com