Monta Ellis scores 27 as Pacers beat Thunder 101-98

Associated Press
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OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Monta Ellis scored 27 points to help the Indiana Pacers beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 101-98 on Friday night.

Paul George had 22 points and 10 assists, Ian Mahinmi matched a career high with 19 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, and Myles Turner had 16 points and a career-high six blocks for the Pacers.

George Hill had nine points and nine assists and matched a career high with 11 rebounds for Indiana, which has won six of nine.

Kevin Durant had 31 points and eight rebounds and Russell Westbrook had 23 points and a career-high 18 assists for the Thunder.

Serge Ibaka had 12 points and 11 rebounds and Enes Kanter added 13 points and 10 rebounds for Oklahoma City, which had won 14 of 16 heading into the All-Star break.

Turner hit a 3-pointer from the right corner to tie the score at 95 with 55.4 seconds to play. Durant missed a 3, then Ellis responded with a 3 with 18.8 seconds remaining.

Westbrook missed a layup, the Pacers rebounded and George was fouled with 10.9 seconds remaining. He missed the first free throw and made the second to make it 99-95.

Durant hit a 3 with 5.9 seconds remaining to pull the Thunder to 99-98. George was fouled with 5.1 seconds to play. He made both free throws to make it a three-point game, and Westbrook missed a deep, off-balance 3 at the buzzer.

Westbrook had 11 points and 12 assists in the first half. He matched the most assists he’s has had in a half in his career. He had 12 assists before he registered his first turnover. Durant scored 17 points and Ibaka added 10 before the break to help the Thunder take a 51-44 lead.

Oklahoma City led 76-67 at the end of the third before Indiana rallied.

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Thunder general manager Sam Presti earlier in the day on rumors about Durant’s eventual landing spot in free agency: “I think we would have to cut him up into 29 pieces to get him to play every place he is supposed to be going, but I think you have to sit back and understand that is part of the business.”

TIP-INS

Pacers: G Rodney Stuckey sat out with a right foot sprain/bone bruise. … Pacers G/F C.J. Miles did not play because of a stomach virus. … The Pacers shot 50 percent in the fourth quarter.

Thunder: Assistant coach Mark Daigneault, who had moved from up head coach of the D-League affiliate Oklahoma City Blue to assist Thunder coach Billy Donovan for the rest of the season stayed with the Blue on Friday because interim Blue coach Jarrell Christian’s wife was having a baby. Daigneault had moved up because assistant Monty Williams is mourning his wife’s death and assistant Maurice Cheeks was out following hip surgery.