The Norman Transcript

National Sports

April 14, 2014

Pacers top Thunder, Eastern Conference

(Continued)

INDIANAPOLIS —

Six players reached double figures including West, who had 21, and Stephenson, who had 17 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds. He broke Detlef Schrempf’s franchise record for most triple doubles in a season (four in 1992-93).

“He’s a big part of our personality, a big part of our edge, a fan favorite with good reason and he’s one of the head coach’s favorites,” Pacers coach Frank Vogel said after getting a low-five from Stephenson after a late 3-pointer.

Paul George finished with 20 points and 12 rebounds and C.J. Watson scored a season high 20 points. The Pacers didn’t even need much from Roy Hibbert, who had six rebounds, no points and was 0 for 9 from the field.

The Thunder (58-22) shot 42.9 percent from the field, were 7 of 28 on 3-pointers and were outrebounded 46-32.

NBA scoring leader Kevin Durant had 38 points and Russell Westbrook had 21 as they rallied Oklahoma City from a 10-point deficit over the final seven minutes.

The Thunder, who were trying to lock up the No. 2 seed in the West, have no doubt Indiana can play with the best in the NBA.

“What’s surprising to me is the people who are down on them,” Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks said. “In an 82-game season, you’re going to have some tough times. Unfortunately for them, they’re having it late in the season. But all it takes is a game or two to get back on.”

What changed for the Pacers, aside from returning to their home court?

They were gritty and selfless, the starters who sat out Wednesday at Milwaukee looked well-rested and the bench that produced a big win over the Bucks looked more confident. While there were still signs of lingering problems, such as 21 turnovers.

Indiana stayed in control and closed it out late.

After George’s 12-foot runner gave the Pacers an 87-77 lead with 6:59 to go, the Thunder charged back, tying the score at 89 when Westbrook hit a 3 with 2:46 to go.

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