INDIANAPOLIS - Orlando's Jameer Nelson and Indiana's George Hill engaged in an impressive scoring duel during the third quarter of Game 5 in their first-round playoff series.
Nelson scored 15 points in the period and Hill nine. Orlando led by two heading into the fourth quarter, and it appeared to be anyone's game.
Pacers coach Frank Vogel shook things up when he brought Darren Collison off the bench. The third-year pro dominated Nelson in the fourth quarter of Indiana's 105-87 victory. Collison had 15 points in the final 12 minutes while Nelson had two. Indiana clinched the series 4-1 and will play the Miami Heat in the second round.
The Pacers say they have two starting point guards, but one just happens to come off the bench. Hill and Collison bring different skill sets.
The dual options allow Vogel, a Wild-wood Crest, N.J., native, to tinker with his lineups.
In this case, Hill and Collison planned to make Nelson tired.
"He expended so much energy on the other end trying to keep his team in it, which he did a great job, but at the other end we knew we had to wear him down a little bit on both ends and make him guard us," Hill said. "I think toward the end of the game, he was spending so much energy down there (on offense) and then chasing us down at the other end, his legs got worn out."
Before the Orlando series, Vogel said the Pacers would need both for Indiana to be at its best. Collison proved his value with 19 points Tuesday. Hill was Indiana's No. 3 scorer in the series.
Collison's defense against Nelson was a key to Indiana's defensive dominance in the series.
"It's something we've been talking to him about all year," Vogel said. "Obviously, when his role changed and he was going to come off the bench, he understood that if his minutes were going to be a little bit shorter, he could expend a little more energy doing that kind of ball pressure."