Pacers beat Thunder to close in on top seed


Tue, Apr 15, 2014 - Page 20

Indianapolis moved within one win of clinching the top seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs by beating the Oklahoma City Thunder 102-97 in Sunday’s clash of divisional leaders.

The Pacers lead two-time defending champions the Miami Heat by half a game and have one game to play, while the Heat have two. Indiana hold the tiebreaker based on their conference record, so they will finish top if they win their final game, regardless of Miami’s results.

Elsewhere, the Portland Trail Blazers edged the Golden State Warriors in overtime to secure at least fifth place in the Western Conference standings, the New York Knicks dealt a blow to the Chicago Bulls’ post-season ambitions and the Toronto Raptors matched a franchise record for wins in a season by beating the Detroit Pistons.

Indianapolis’ David West scored 21 points and Lance Stephenson had his league-best fifth triple-double of the season.

Kevin Durant finished with 38 points for Oklahoma City, who missed a chance to lock up the second seed in the Western Conference.

The Thunder rallied from a 10-point fourth-quarter deficit, tying the score with 2 minutes, 46 seconds to go, but Paul George hit a three-pointer and Stephenson made one with 34.2 seconds to go to effectively seal it.

Portland’s LaMarcus Aldridge scored 26 points, including the go-ahead jumper in overtime, as the Trail Blazers beat the Warriors 119-117.

With the victory, Portland (53-28) were assured of at least the fifth seed in the playoffs. The Blazers close out the season tomorrow against the Los Angeles Clippers.

Aldridge’s jumper with 39.9 seconds to go gave the Blazers a 118-117 lead. Damian Lillard added a free throw for Portland, before Andre Iguodala missed a three-pointer with 2.9 seconds left and Wesley Matthews grabbed the rebound for the Blazers.

Matthews added 24 points for Portland, who have won four straight and eight of their past nine games.

The Warriors lost despite a season-high 47 points from Stephen Curry.

New York responded well to being eliminated from playoff contention, firing up for a 100-89 win over Chicago.

Tim Hardaway Jr scored 20 points, while Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith both had 17 for the Knicks.

Chicago’s seven-game winning streak was ended and the result dropped them back into a tie with Toronto for the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference with two games to play.

Toronto’s DeMar DeRozan scored 14 of his 30 points in the fourth quarter to guide the Raptors to a 116-107 win over the Pistons.

Kyle Lowry fouled out late after scoring 28 points for the Raptors, who reached the 47-win mark for the third time in their history, finishing on that total in 2000-2001 and 2006-2007.

Andre Drummond had 14 points and 17 rebounds for the Pistons in the final home game of their dismal season.

The Memphis Grizzlies moved a game ahead of the idle Phoenix Suns in the race for the final Western Conference playoff berth by pulling away in the third quarter and winning 102-90 at the Los Angeles Lakers, with Mike Conley scoring 24 points.

Sacramento’s Ray McCallum hit back-to-back three-pointers in a pivotal stretch midway through the fourth quarter, steering the Kings to a 106-103 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Brooklyn’s Mirza Teletovic scored a team-high 20 points as the Nets downed the Orlando Magic 97-88.