OKLAHOMA CITY —
“The game was in the balance the last five minutes,” Brooks said. “I thought the game changed when he blocked Hibbert’s shot. That turned the game. That sparked our guys, gave us extra energy going into that last four or five minutes. Those are the plays Russell can make.”
David West paced Indiana with 21 points and nine rebounds. George added 17 points and eight rebounds.
“We knew to beat this team, we had to put up points as well,” George said. “Our defense can only hold up for so long. We thought they did a great job. Those guys are special players and made big shots.”
Durant led all scorers with 27 points on only nine-for-24 shooting. But he racked up eight rebounds and four assists. Westbrook added 21 points, and Martin came off the bench to chip in 24.
“I just tried to bury him in the post and I made a few,” Durant said. “I just tried to be aggressive. I started the game off with two airballs and I got my mind ready that it was going to be a tough game for me shooting-wise. I just tried to come through when the team needed me.”
The Thunder trailed the Pacers for much of the first quarter as West had his way on the front line. But Oklahoma City’s bench came in and turned a six-point deficit into a 25-22 lead by the end of the period.
However, Indiana chipped away at Oklahoma City’s 10-point lead in the second quarter and got the deficit down to 57-56 at the half.
Martin had a quiet game Friday against the Lakers, but he came out firing against the defensive-minded Pacers. He posted 22 points in 14 minutes of action on six-for-seven shooting in the first half.
“I was just being aggressive and just doing what I’ve been doing for years,” Martin said. “It was just one of those games where you kind of felt it.”
Michael KinneyFollow me @firstname.lastname@example.org