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September 26, 2017

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Thunder and Pacers both win to square series at 1-1

INDIANAPOLIS -- Oklkahoma City's Russell Westbrook had a triple-double and newly crowned MVP Kevin Durant almost did the same as the Thunder's stars shone in a 112-101 win over the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday which tied their NBA Western Conference semifinal series at 1-1.

In the day's other game, Roy Hibbert shook off his previously underwhelming playoff form and led Indiana to an 86-82 win over Washington which also squared their series at 1-1.

Westbrook had 31 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists to claim his third triple-double in his past five playoff games. Durant had 32 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists before leaving the game with 1:21 remaining.

If Durant had provided just one more assist, they would have been the first teammates to ever record triple-doubles in the same playoff game, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

J.J. Redick scored 18 points, Chris Paul had 17 points and 11 assists, and Blake Griffin added 15 points for the Clippers, who will host Game 3 on Friday.

Serge Ibaka and a surprisingly productive Thabo Sefolosha each scored 14 points for the Thunder, who shot 51 percent from the field and outrebounded the Clippers 52-36.

The Clippers made 15 of 29 3-pointers in Game 1, but just 9 of 27 in Game 2.

Durant scored 17 points in the first quarter on 7-for-11 shooting to help the Thunder take a 37-28 lead. Paul, who scored 17 points in the opening quarter of Game 1, went scoreless in the first quarter of Game 2 and watched most of the period from the bench with two fouls.

In the second quarter, both Westbrook and coach Scott Brooks were called for technical fouls after arguing against a non-call. The Clippers made both free throws, then Paul made a 3-pointer and the visitors went ahead when Griffin connected on a jump shot with just over 4 minutes remaining in the first half.

The Thunder closed the half strongly and took a 61-56 lead into the break.

Oklahoma City found an unlikely path to the basket in the third quarter when defensive stopper Sefolosha broke out for 12 points in the period to help the Thunder take a match-winning 94-77 advantage into the fourth.

Meanwhile, Roy Hibbert overcame his lackluster playoffs with a season-best 28 points and nine rebounds to lead the Indiana Pacers to an 86-82 victory over the Washington Wizards on Wednesday to level the Eastern Conference semifinals at 1-1.

It was a stark contrast to Hibbert's abysmal, scoreless showing in Monday's loss — and most of this year's playoffs.

But after hearing 48 hours of constant criticism and continual questions, Hibbert responded with the kind of game Indiana desperately needed. He made his first four shots, dominated the middle and produced big basket after big basket.

Game 3 is Friday in Washington.

Marcin Gortat had 21 points and Bradley Beal added 17 for the Wizards.

Washington took a 77-74 lead with 5:01 left in the game. Indiana scored six straight and never trailed again.

Washington had won all four of its previous road playoff games — three at Chicago and Monday night in Indy.

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