Pacers hold off ThunderApr 7, 2012 - 3:15 AM Indianapolis, IN (Sports Network) - Danny Granger netted 26 points and the Indiana Pacers held off a late charge to defeat the Oklahoma City Thunder, 103-98, on Friday.
Roy Hibbert had a double-double with 21 points and 12 rebounds, David West supplied 14 points and Paul George contributed a career-high 16 boards as the Pacers won their fourth straight.
"At first my shots weren't falling, so I had to do what I can to help while I'm out there," said George. "I was able to find my way inside and get some of those offensive rebounds that we needed."
Indiana remained 1 1/2 games ahead of Atlanta, which edged Detroit later Friday, for third place in the Eastern Conference.
Kevin Durant scored 44 points, including 17 in the fourth quarter, but the Thunder could not overcome a 24-point second-half deficit despite making it a three-point game late in the fourth.
"We dug ourselves a big hole. We fought and fought, we just couldn't get over the hump," Durant said. "They made shots, tough shots. They're a really good team."
After leading throughout most of the season, Oklahoma City finds itself tied with surging San Antonio for the top playoff spot in the Western Conference. The Thunder have dropped three straight while the Spurs have won 10 in a row, including a 128-103 rout of the Hornets on Friday.
After erupting for 32 points in the first quarter, including nine unanswered points to end the frame, the Pacers held a double-digit advantage for most of the game.
But after Indiana took its largest lead of the game at 72-48 midway through the third, Oklahoma City came charging, as Durant hit two free-throws, a trey and a jumper as part of a 9-0 run.
The Thunder trimmed their deficit to 10 points seven times in the fourth quarter but were unable to make it a single-digit game until Russell Westbrook's driving layup with 1:41 remaining cut it to 96-88.
Durant followed by driving for a one-handed dunk, and after being fouled by Grant Hill, he completed the three-point play to cap a 7-0 rally.
Hibbert made 1-of-2 from the charity stripe to stop the charge but Kendrick Perkins answered with a reserve layup.
Thunder opted not to foul despite being down four points with under 38 seconds to play, however, and Darren Collison swished a pull-up jumper with Derrick Fisher's hand in his face and 16.8 seconds remaining.
Westbrook drained a triple to cut it to 101-98 with 5.5 ticks on the clock but Granger made both free-throws to seal the victory.
Oklahoma City committed 17 turnovers to 12 for the Pacers...Westbrook contributed 21 points...George fouled out with 2:16 to play...Oklahoma City hosts Toronto in the first of a back-to-back games on Sunday. Indiana finishes a back-to-back home series on Saturday against Boston.
- OKLAHOMA CITY: 98
Apr 6 9:40 PM
- OKLAHOMA CITY: 61
End of 3rd
Apr 6 8:55 PM
- OKLAHOMA CITY: 41
Apr 6 8:11 PM
- OKLAHOMA CITY: 20
End of 1st
Apr 6 7:38 PM
- OKLAHOMA CITY: 0
1st Quarter - 12:00
Apr 6 7:12 PM
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