Pacers win, close in on top seed in East playoffs
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indianapolis moved within one win of clinching the top seed in the NBA’s Eastern Conference playoffs by beating Oklahoma City 102-97 in Sunday’s clash of divisional leaders.
The Pacers lead two-time defending champion Miami by half a game and have one game to play while the Heat have two. Indiana hold the tiebreaker based on conference record, so it will finish top if it wins its final game, regardless of Miami’s results.
Elsewhere, Portland edged Golden State in overtime to secure at least fifth place in the Western Conference standings, New York dealt a blow to Chicago’s postseason ambitions, and Toronto matched a franchise record for wins in a season by beating Detroit.
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, which 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 2:46 to go, but Paul George hit a 3 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 Golden State 119-117.
With the victory, Portland (53-28) was assured of at least the fifth seed in the playoffs. The Blazers close out the season Wednesday 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 3-pointer with 2.9 seconds left and Wesley Matthews grabbed the rebound for the Blazers.
Matthews added 24 points for Portland, which has won four straight and eight of its 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 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 Detroit.
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 2001 and 2007.
Andre Drummond had 14 points and 17 rebounds for the Pistons in the final home game of their dismal season.
Memphis moved a game ahead of idle Phoenix 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 3-pointers in a pivotal stretch midway through the fourth quarter, steering the Kings to a 106-103 win over Minnesota.
Brooklyn’s Mirza Teletovic scored a team-high 20 points as the Nets downed Orlando 97-88.