Mon, 29 May 2023

Pacers hold on late to beat Thunder

Field Level Media
01 Apr 2023, 12:19 GMT+10

T.J. McConnell scored 21 points to lead the Indiana Pacers to a 121-117 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday in Indianapolis.

The win snapped a four-game losing streak for the Pacers, while the Thunder have lost four of their past six games as they fight for a spot in the Play-In Tournament.

Oklahoma City (38-40) is a half-game up on the Dallas Mavericks for the 10th spot in the Western Conference with four games to go, though the Thunder hold the tiebreaker over Dallas.

Seven players scored at least 12 points for Indiana (34-44).

Jalen Smith had 12 points and 15 rebounds for the Pacers.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, returning after missing the last two games with an ankle injury, scored 39 points on 11-of-22 shooting to lead Oklahoma City. He hit all 17 of his free throws.

Josh Giddey added 21 points.

With 14.5 seconds remaining, Thunder coach Mark Daigneault challenged the call on an out-of-bounds play that initially gave the Pacers the ball back, up two, 117-115.

The call was overturned on replay, giving Oklahoma City the ball.

But Gilgeous-Alexander took the inbounds pass from Giddey near the baseline, spun and pump faked before missing the shot.

Smith grabbed the rebound and was immediately fouled. He missed the first free throw before making the second.

Indiana fouled Gilgeous-Alexander on the ensuing inbounds, the Pacers hit their free throws after Gilgeous-Alexander's, and Jalen Williams turned the ball over with 2.5 seconds left to seal the Pacers' victory.

Oklahoma City missed all 13 3-pointers it took in the first half, then missed its first two in the third before Giddey hit one more than two minutes into the second half.

The Thunder jumped ahead in the third, outscoring the Pacers 33-25 to take a four-point lead into the fourth.

Oklahoma City ripped off a 21-7 run to stretch their lead to 10 with less than three minutes remaining in the third.

The Thunder scored 10 of its points during the stretch at the free-throw line while Indiana was just 3-for-11 during the stretch.

But Indiana closed the quarter with a 9-3 run to close the gap heading into the fourth.

--Field Level Media

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