Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant help Thunder withstand Paul George’s 45 points
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Russell Westbrook had his second triple-double in two nights, Kevin Durant had 33 points and 13 rebounds, and the Oklahoma City Thunder overcame Paul George’s 45 points to beat the Indiana Pacers 115-111 on Saturday night.
Westbrook finished with 14 points, 11 rebounds and 14 assists, his 14th triple-double of the season. Durant nearly had one, too, finishing with eight assists to lead Oklahoma City to its fourth straight win.
George added seven rebounds and four assists but missed a 3-pointer with 5.9 seconds left that could have tied it.
Indiana erased a 10-point halftime deficit and regained the lead early in the fourth quarter, but couldn’t hold it.
After Indiana took its last lead at 98-97 with 8:28 to go, the Thunder answered with a 9-0 run.
Durant sealed it by going 3 of 4 on free throws in the last 3 seconds.
Only Magic Johnson has recorded more triple-doubles in a season than Westbrook over the last 25 seasons. Johnson had 17 in 1988-89.
But Durant stole the show. He was 11 of 20 from the field, made three 3s and 8 of 10 free throws - including one he intentionally missed with 2.0 seconds left to run out the clock.
George was just as good, finishing 14 of 29 and making four 3s - the last of which turned into a four-point play to get the Pacers within 112-108.
The Pacers spent most of the night playing catch-up after blowing an early 13-2 lead.
When they finally did catch the Thunder, the Pacers couldn’t pull away and then went cold against one of the league’s best teams.
After clinching a playoff spot with Friday night’s win in Philadelphia, first-year Oklahoma City coach Billy Donovan was asked before the game whether he would start resting his players. He didn’t Saturday. But it could happen over the next few weeks. “As the season unfolds, I think that could be part of the plan,” Donovan said.
Thunder: Enes Kanter had 15 points and 10 rebounds off the bench. ... Durant topped the 20-point mark for the 55th consecutive game. He needs one more to match the longest streak of his career. ... Oklahoma City is 6-7 on the second night of back-to-backs this season.
Pacers: All five starters reached double figures including George Hill, who had 20 points and nine assists. ... Indiana must wait until Monday night to try and extend the league’s longest active streak of consecutive winning seasons on its home court (26). Indiana is 20-13 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse this season.... Guard Ty Lawson missed his fifth straight game with a sprained left foot but coach Frank Vogel is hopeful Lawson will play Monday night.