Thunder defeat Pacers 97-75
April 7, 2013, 12:13 am TWN
INDIANAPOLIS--Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant overcame a bruised left calf to score 34 points and lead the Thunder to a 97-75 win over the Indiana Pacers on Friday, moving the team level with San Antonio for top spot in the NBA's Western Conference.
Russell Westbrook added 24 points for the Thunder, who beat the Spurs on Thursday, arrived at the team hotel in Indianapolis at 4 a.m., then went out and prevented the Pacers from clinching their first Central Division title in nine years.
But the Pacers, who got 22 points from Roy Hibbert, can clinch the title with a win Saturday at Washington.
Elsewhere, the Los Angeles Lakers held onto the last playoff position in the West by beating Memphis, Carmelo Anthony tied a franchise record as New York downed Milwaukee and won its 11th straight, a depleted Miami had enough in hand to defeat Charlotte, Houston edged closer to the playoffs with a win over Portland, and Philadelphia had its highest-scoring quarter of the season in beating Atlanta.
L.A. Lakers star Kobe Bryant had 24 points and nine assists while Pau Gasol added 19 in the 86-84 win over the Memphis Grizzlies, with Dwight Howard hitting the late winner.
The Lakers have won three straight in the final weeks of their desperate push for a postseason spot. Los Angeles also avoided getting swept in its season series with the Grizzlies, whose four-game winning streak ended.
Memphis' Mike Conley scored 21 points before missing a potential go-ahead jumper with 5 seconds left and another layup before the buzzer for the playoff-bound Grizzlies, who fell one game behind Denver for the fourth seed in the West. The Grizzlies couldn't score in the final 2 1/2 minutes.
New York's Anthony scored 41 points, tying a franchise record with this third straight 40-point game, as the Knicks beat the Milwaukee Bucks 101-83.
Anthony, who had 50 points and 40 in his previous two games, equaled Bernard King's 1984-85 mark. New York matched the third-longest winning streak in franchise history.
J.R. Smith added 30 points for the Knicks, who used a 42-point third quarter to turn around the game after a lackluster first half.
Miami's Mike Miller scored a season-high 26 points on seven 3-pointers, as the injury-depleted Heat beat the Charlotte Bobcats 89-79.