Tue, Mar 27, 2018 - Page 16 News List

Indiana Pacers make playoffs


The Indiana Pacers are not ready to celebrate just yet after clinching a playoff berth.

Victor Oladipo on Sunday had 23 points and five assists, while Thaddeus Young added 22 points, nine rebounds and five steals to help the Pacers beat the Miami Heat 113-107 in overtime, earning their seventh post-season berth in the past eight seasons.

“Our [job] is still not done,” Young said. “We’re in the playoffs, but now we want seeding. We want to get as high of a seed as possible, and we’re just going to continue to play and try to win as many games as possible, but the monkey is off our back now that we’re actually in.”

Bojan Bogdanovic added 18 points and eight rebounds for the Pacers.

A trip to the playoffs seemed farfetched eight months ago when four-time All-Star Paul George went to Oklahoma City in what appeared to a be a lopsided trade between the Pacers and the Thunder.

However, general manager Kevin Pritchard’s off-season moves have paid off.

Oladipo, who was part of the trade, has been a big part of Indiana’s success.

“We found a guy that can close,” Pacers coach Nate McMillan said. “Vic has shown he can close. We are not here if we didn’t have that.”

Oladipo made a three-pointer in overtime as Indiana pulled away.

Darren Collison, who finished with 12 points, made the go-ahead three-pointer to put the Pacers ahead 101-100 with 2 minutes, 49 seconds remaining in the extra period, then Indiana scored 11 straight points to build a lead.

The Pacers took a 109-102 lead with Collison’s three-pointer with 55 seconds left to play.

Tyler Johnson made five three-pointers and finished with 19 points, James Johnson had 15 points and nine rebounds, while Bam Adebayo added 14 points for the Heat, who split the four-game season series.

Miami coach Erik Spoelstra missed the first game of his career, leaving Indianapolis on Saturday after learning his wife Nikki was entering labor.

Their first child, a son, was born on Sunday.

Assistant coach Dan Craig filled in and Spoelstra is expected to return for Miami’s home game against Cleveland today.

The Heat came back from an eight-point deficit in the second half.

James Johnson forced overtime with a free throw with 8.3 seconds left in regulation.

He missed the free throw that would have won it for Miami.

“He had a terrific game and that last play for him was exactly what we wanted,” Craig said. “He got to the basket, got fouled and got two free-throw [attempts].”

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