Make your home page

Westbrook scores 54, but Pacers hold off Thunder 116-104

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – Russell Westbrook scored a career-high 54 points Sunday night, but Indiana fended off his late charge for a critical 116-104 victory over Oklahoma City.

C.J. Miles matched his season high with 30 points to lead Indiana (37-43) to its fifth straight win and into a tie with Brooklyn for the eighth and final playoff spot in the East. The Nets own the tiebreaker.

The Thunder (43-37) lost for the fifth time in six games despite a near triple-double from Westbrook, who had nine rebounds and eight assists. Oklahoma City is tied with New Orleans for the No. 8 seed in the West.

Indiana never trailed in the second half, but Westbrook tied the score at 88 on a breakaway dunk with 7:55 to go.

The Pacers scored 12 straight points, but Westbrook’s 3-pointer with 1:19 left made it 106-103 before Indiana closed it out.

After posting a triple-double in the first game against the Pacers this season, Westbrook nearly did it again. He was 21 of 43 from the field, 5 of 15 on 3s and 7 of 11 from the free throw line. He had 22 points and four assists just in the first quarter.

So with their playoff hopes slipping away, Westbrook took matters into his own hands and almost single-handedly brought back the Thunder.

After falling into a 100-88 deficit midway through the fourth, Westbrook scored nine straight points in an Oklahoma City run to make it 102-99 with 3:13 to go. His 3-pointer with 1:19 left again made it a three-point game.

But Indiana closed it out with a 10-1 spurt over the final 79 seconds.



Thunder: If Oklahoma City misses the playoffs for the first time in six years, it may be because of free throw shooting. After going 16 of 26, 18 of 26 and 15 of 28 in its previous three games, the Thunder were a dismal 11 of 28 on Sunday. Westbrook’s teammates were just 4 of 17 from the line.

Pacers: Indiana got the win it needed against a team it has struggled mightily against in recent years. The Pacers beat Oklahoma City for only the second time in their last six meetings, a stretch that included a 105-92 loss on the road in February.


Thunder: Host Portland on Monday.

Pacers: Host Washington on Tuesday.