Pacers continue to eye top seed in East
Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant (35) drives to the basket against Indiana Pacers guard George Hill (3) and center Roy Hibbert (55) at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Photo by Brian Spurlock, USA TODAY Sports/Reuters.
INDIANAPOLIS - Lance Stephenson finished with 17 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists as Indiana beat Oklahoma City 102-97 to move a step closer to clinching home-court advantage throughout the Eastern Conference playoffs.
Paul George hit the go-ahead three-pointer with just over two minutes left for the Pacers who climbed a half-game ahead of Miami, which was idle Sunday, for the top seed in the East.
"We've been steadily improving," Indiana's David West said. "We have to keep our focus and start the playoffs strong."
The Pacers, who lost at Miami on Friday, finished with the NBA's best home mark at 35-6 and will complete the regular season Wednesday at Orlando.
The Heat play in Washington on Monday and host Philadelphia on Wednesday, but it's Indiana who own the tiebreaker and control their own destiny.
Stephenson posted his NBA-leading fifth triple-double of the year. George tallied 20 points and 12 rebounds, while West scored 21 as the Pacers won for just the third time in nine games.
Kevin Durant scored 38 while Russell Westbrook added 21 points, nine boards and seven assists for Oklahoma City, which had a three-game winning streak halted. Durant was just two-of-11 from three-point range.
"We gave up too many points," Thunder head coach Scott Brooks said.
The Thunder will play at New Orleans Monday and host Detroit Wednesday to cap the regular season.
Oklahoma City is two games ahead of the Los Angeles Clippers for the number two seed.
The Pacers led by as many as eight in the second and held a 47-45 edge at halftime.
George scored 10 in the third to help Indiana to a 74-66 lead heading into the fourth. The Pacers were up as many as 11 early in the fourth quarter.
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