The Indiana Pacers kept their playoff hopes alive with a big win in their last game.

Knowing they may need to win all four of their remaining games to have a chance at the postseason, the Pacers visit the Philadelphia 76ers on Friday.

Indiana (34-44) is two games behind the Atlanta Hawks, who hold the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with four games remaining for each team.

Atlanta visits the New York Knicks on Friday, but cannot clinch the final playoff spot even with a win and an Indiana loss because the Pacers claimed the tiebreaker by beating the Hawks 112-98 on Tuesday to win the season series.

"If we're going down, we're going down fighting," Indiana leading scorer Danny Granger said.

The Pacers have won three straight and nine of 12 to stay in the playoff race. They shot 51.3 percent from the field and had six players score in double figures on Tuesday, led by Mike Dunleavy with 28 points while Flip Murray added 20 to go with 10 assists.

Jermaine O'Neal had one of his better games since returning from a 33-game absence because of knee problems. He had 10 points, four rebounds and four blocked shots in 19 minutes off the bench.

O'Neal, who averaged 15.3 points in 33 games before being injured, has not started any of the five games since he returned. He's averaged 8.6 points during this 4-1 stretch. The Pacers were 12-21 when he was out of the lineup.

"I was telling some fans yesterday I wish we had 10 more games, five more games, because we're starting to get in a rhythm," O'Neal said. "We're starting to take a disposition about ourselves on both ends of the floor."

The Pacers have beaten Philadelphia (40-38) twice this season, including a 110-103 victory at the Wachovia Center on Jan. 21. Their only other remaining game against a playoff-bound team is at Washington. They have home games left versus Charlotte and New York.

The Sixers, meanwhile, have won three of four, including a 101-94 victory over Detroit on Wednesday. Philadelphia led the entire game and outscored the Pistons, whose starters played minimal minutes, 29-7 in fast-break points.

Andre Iguodala scored 25 points while Samuel Dalembert added 20 and grabbed 13 rebounds.

Philadelphia is sixth in the East and still has a chance to move up, although it could also fall to seventh. The Sixers are a game behind Washington and a game ahead of seventh-place Toronto.

"It was an important win for us, especially trying to better ourselves as far as seeds are concerned in the Eastern Conference," Willie Green said.

After Friday, Philadelphia has three games remaining - the next two against playoff teams Washington and Cleveland and then a road game against Charlotte to close the regular season.

The Sixers are 13-3 in their last 16 home games.


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