Pacers edge Thunder for seventh straight win
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[February 07, 2017]
INDIANAPOLIS -- The Indiana
Pacers discovered yet another method to extend their winning streak
on Monday night.
Indiana shot only 37.9 percent from the field, 65.5 percent from the
foul line and was outrebounded 61-37, yet the Pacers limited the
Oklahoma City Thunder to 38.6 percent shooting, including only 7 of
28 from 3-point range, while forcing 16 turnovers.
Paul George had 21 points, including a clutch basket with 1:20
remaining, and the Pacers extended their season-best winning streak
to seven with a 93-90 victory over the Thunder.
"Defense was the difference in the game," Indiana coach Nate
McMillan said. "That is what we want to be about."
Russell Westbrook, who finished with 27 points, 18 rebounds and nine
assists, missed two potential game-tying 3-pointers in the final 7.8
seconds, including one at the buzzer while being closely guarded by
"The first (shot), he really didn't have a good look, but then he
got it back and had a much better look," George said. "Westbrook is
an explosive, tough player.
"As badly as we played in the first half, we had to step up in the
Westbrook was one rebound shy of his career best, set on Feb. 3,
2016, against the Orlando Magic.
Jeff Teague added 17 points for Indiana, Glenn Robinson III had 14
and Myles Turner scored 10.
"Paul was great in the second half," Teague said. "As a group, our
defense was good in the second half. That won the game."
Steven Adams contributed 15 points for the Thunder, Victor Oladipo
had 14, and Andre Roberson finished with 11 points and 11 rebounds.
"I thought our guys played very, very well," Thunder coach Billy
Donovan said. "But you knew Indiana was going to make a run at some
point. It was a tale of two halves for both teams. Nate is looking
at his team thinking they didn't play particularly well in the first
half, and I am thinking the same thing about my team in the second
A Turner layup with 6:47 remaining gave Indiana an 84-75 lead. A
3-pointer by Westbrook, two Oladipo free throws and a Westbrook
layup cut the Pacers' lead to 91-90 with 2:03 left.
"We have got to do a better job of playing defense for 48 minutes,"
Oladipo said. "We did a great job of flying around and being active
in the first half. Then, they started to hit shots."
Including Rodney Stuckey's layup at the buzzer, Indiana outscored
Oklahoma City 32-18 in the third quarter, limiting the Thunder to
seven field goals on 24 attempts to take a 73-70 lead through 36
minutes. The Pacers were 11 of 22 from the field in the third
[to top of second column]
Pacers forward Paul
George (13) looks on against the Oklahoma City Thunder at Bankers
Life Fieldhouse. The Pacers won 93-90. Mandatory Credit: Brian
Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
"The first half was a wakeup call for us," McMillan said. "Oklahoma
City is a playoff team, and in the first half, our offense was
stagnant, and we were taking quick shots. In the second half, we
played like we are capable of playing."
The Thunder (30-23) limited George to 1-of-8 shooting from the field
during a first half in which Oklahoma City outrebounded Indiana
31-22 and led 52-41 through 24 minutes.
Indiana (29-22) shot only 30.4 percent from the floor in the opening
half and turned the ball over six times, leading to 12 Thunder
Robinson led Indiana with nine first-half points, Teague had eight
and George scored six.
"We are playing with a lot of confidence right now, and in the
second half, we played great defense," Robinson said.
Westbrook had eight points, 11 rebounds and seven assists in the
first half. Adams had 12 points and five rebounds, and Oladipo
scored eight points.
NOTES: Indiana F Thaddeus Young sat out as he continues to rehab his
sprained left wrist. ... The Thunder rank fourth in rebounding
(45.8) and fifth in opponents' rebounding (41.8). ... The Pacers
lead the NBA in opponents' turnovers per game (15.7) and are second
in free throw percentage (81.8). ... Indiana was attempting to sweep
the season series from the Thunder for the first time since
2008-2009. ... Thunder starting G Victor Oladipo played college ball
at Indiana University, only 40 miles from Indianapolis. ... The
Pacers play host to the Cavaliers on Wednesday. The Thunder's next
game is also against Cleveland, on Thursday in Oklahoma City.
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