Photo credit: Frank McGrath, Indiana Pacers
After defeating the Oklahoma City Thunder 93-90 on Monday night, the Indiana Pacers won their seventh straight game and swept the season series, 2-0.
Thunder point guard and likely MVP front-runner Russell Westbrook almost clinched triple double no. 26 of the season falling one assist shy of the mark. His 27 points and 18 rebounds were nothing to sneeze at as Westbrook did whatever he wanted for majority of the game, often times looking at the scoreboard. His center Steven Adams was the beneficiary of multiple Westbrook attacks to the rim as he finished with 15 points and nine boards.
Pacers all-star forward Paul George got into foul trouble early, picking up two personal fouls in the first quarter. He returned in the second and third quarters only to get derailed by the defense of Andre Roberson.
Once the fourth quarter hit, PG-13 kept the lid on the Thunder for the most part with his play on the defensive end. He didn’t quite hit his season average in points (22.5 PPG) but his free-throw line jumper was the difference-maker late in the game, ultimately being the last bucket scored in the game. George finished with 21 points and eight rebounds.
It wasn’t a convincing win at the least, but it was still enough to keep the Pacers in the no. 6 spot of the Eastern Conference playoff race, just two games back from the third seed currently held by the Toronto Raptors, who sit at 32-21 as of Tuesday.
The Pacers play host to the reigning NBA champion, Cleveland Cavaliers, Wednesday at 7 p.m. The last time the Cavs made a stop in Indy in November, four-time MVP LeBron James sat for rest.