Monday, December 18, 2017
Sports

Pacers find themselves for clinching victory

INDIANAPOLIS — The Pacers salvaged their season Saturday by reverting to form.

Paul George scored a career-playoff-high 30, Lance Stephenson had 19 and Roy Hibbert finally came up big against the more nimble Hawks as the Pacers survived a first-round scare with a 92-80 victory in the decisive seventh game of their Eastern Conference series.

The top-seeded Pacers advanced to a conference semifinal against the Wizards that starts Monday. "We know what we want to get to, and we know what our journey is," George said.

Indiana, the league's best home team in the regular season, twice gave away homecourt advantage by losing Games 1 and 5. Atlanta's spread offense and 3-point shooters had Indiana's normally stout defense scrambling for answers after the Hawks took a 3-2 lead Monday. Hibbert, an All-Star center, had just 20 points in the first six games. George spent the week dealing with a burglary at his home and a possible Game 7 suspension.

On Saturday, George sparked the two biggest runs of the game, finished 11-of-23 from the field and grabbed 11 rebounds for a league-leading sixth double double in the playoffs. Stephenson also had nine rebounds and five assists. Hibbert had 13 points, seven rebounds and five blocks.

The Pacers got back to using their size advantage, beating Atlanta 55-38 on the glass, yet still found a way to limit the Hawks to 11 of 44 shooting from 3-point range. The 44 attempts broke the league's single-game playoff record (42) set by the Mavericks in May 2003.

Kyle Korver led the Hawks with 19 points. "You have to make some shots," Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer said. "And (Saturday) we weren't able to do it at the rate that we needed to."

Pacers 92, Hawks 80

ATLANTA (80): Carroll 1-7 0-0 2, Millsap 6-21 3-5 15, Antic 0-5 0-0 0, Teague 5-16 6-6 16, Korver 6-13 2-3 19, Scott 5-14 2-2 15, Williams 0-3 0-0 0, Mack 5-12 0-0 13, Brand 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 28-92 13-16 80.

INDIANA (92): George 11-23 7-8 30, West 1-7 2-2 4, Hibbert 6-10 1-2 13, G.Hill 3-10 9-9 15, Stephenson 8-12 2-4 19, Copeland 1-2 0-0 3, Watson 3-6 1-2 7, Mahinmi 0-0 1-2 1. Totals 33-70 23-29 92.

Atlanta 23 13 27 17— 80

Indiana 24 23 24 21— 92

3-Point GoalsAtlanta 11-44 (Korver 5-10, Mack 3-8, Scott 3-10, Williams 0-1, Teague 0-2, Antic 0-3, Carroll 0-5, Millsap 0-5), Indiana 3-18 (Copeland 1-1, Stephenson 1-3, George 1-8, Watson 0-1, G.Hill 0-5). Fouled OutNone. ReboundsAtlanta 46 (Millsap 17), Indiana 64 (Stephenson 14). AssistsAtlanta 16 (Mack 7), Indiana 17 (Stephenson 5). Total FoulsAtlanta 24, Indiana 19. TechnicalsStephenson, West.

Thunder rolls to semis

OKLAHOMA CITY — Kevin Durant scored 33 points, Russell Westbrook had a triple-double and the Thunder beat the Grizzlies 120-109 in Game 7 of their Western Conference series.

In the semifinals, the Thunder meets the winner of the Clippers-Warriors series, which played Game 7 late Saturday.

Westbrook had 27 points, 16 assists and 10 rebounds. His assist total tied the franchise record for a playoff game set in 1987 by Nate McMillan when the team was in Seattle.

The Grizzlies, playing without leading scorer Zach Randolph because of a suspension, led by 11 in the first half before the Thunder overwhelmed them and shot 66 percent after the break. Marc Gasol led Memphis with 24 points.

Thunder 120, Grizzlies 109

MEMPHIS (109): Allen 4-11 7-8 15, Miller 1-3 0-0 3, Gasol 7-20 10-11 24, Conley 8-14 4-5 20, Lee 5-10 4-5 16, Prince 3-6 0-0 6, Koufos 2-3 0-0 4, Udrih 4-8 3-3 12, Leuer 3-5 2-2 9, Davis 0-1 0-0 0, Franklin 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 37-83 30-34 109.

OKLAHOMA CITY (120): Durant 12-18 4-6 33, Ibaka 6-8 0-0 12, Perkins 2-2 0-0 4, Westbrook 10-16 5-6 27, Butler 3-10 8-9 15, Adams 3-3 2-3 8, Jackson 5-6 4-4 16, Fisher 1-4 2-2 5, Lamb 0-2 0-0 0, Jones 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 42-69 25-30 120.

Memphis 36 22 23 28— 109

Oklahoma City 27 34 33 26— 120

3-Point GoalsMemphis 5-17 (Lee 2-5, Udrih 1-2, Leuer 1-2, Miller 1-3, Gasol 0-1, Allen 0-1, Prince 0-1, Conley 0-2), Oklahoma City 11-19 (Durant 5-5, Westbrook 2-2, Jackson 2-3, Fisher 1-3, Butler 1-5, Lamb 0-1). Fouled OutNone. ReboundsMemphis 37 (Leuer 7), Oklahoma City 45 (Westbrook 10). AssistsMemphis 22 (Conley 9), Oklahoma City 22 (Westbrook 16). Total FoulsMemphis 22, Oklahoma City 28. TechnicalsAdams.

Late Friday: Damian Lillard always admired Brandon Roy for his ability to make game-changing shots. Now the second-year Blazers guard is making the game-changers. Lillard hit a 3 as time expired to send host Portland to the West semis with a 99-98 Game 6 win over the Rockets. It was the first buzzer-beating shot to win a series since John Stockton's 3 led Utah over Houston in the 1997 West final. "I've got a lot of confidence in myself," Lillard said. "When you have a team full of guys that you know have the same confidence in you when the ball is in your hands … it makes it that much easier."

nba to name clippers ceo: The league said it will appoint a chief executive officer to supervise the Clippers' operations in the wake of the sanctions levied against owner Donald Sterling for making racist comments. Commissioner Adam Silver last week banned Sterling for life, fined him $2.5 million and urged league owners to force him to sell the team. Sterling's long-estranged wife, Rochelle, said she supports Silver's decisions and agrees the league and team should work together to find "fresh, accomplished" leadership."

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