Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Pacers, Thunder Stay Alive in NBA Playoffs

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Pacers, Thunder Stay Alive in NBA Playoffs

Article excerpt

The Indiana Pacers have changed who they are, going to a different style in hopes of surviving the opening round of the playoffs. No matter what, they can always count on David West.

With the top-seeded Pacers poised for an early summer, West fearlessly led a 16-4 run to end the game, extending the season with a 95-88 victory on the road over the Atlanta Hawks on Thursday night.

"He's our rock," Indiana coach Frank Vogel said. "There's no other way to put it."

Trailing 3-2 after losing at home for the second time in the best- of-seven series, Indiana was in big trouble when the Hawks pushed out to an 84-79 lead with just over 3 minutes remaining, cheered on by a raucous crowd that barely sat down in the second half.

But, for the fourth time in this back-and-forth affair, the road team won.

West seemed to make every big play down the stretch, scoring four straight points and forcing a huge turnover to begin the turnaround. He hit two more baskets in the final minute to wrap things up, finishing with 24 points.

Game 7 is Saturday in Indianapolis.

"When a team is making runs like that, an eight seed trying to knock off a one seed in their building and the place is erupting on every play, we have a guy with the composure to settle everyone down," Vogel said.

Meanwhile, Vogel said he doesn't expect any discipline from the NBA after a scuffle late in the first half that prompted Indiana's Paul George who scored 24 points to step off the bench.

Atlanta's Mike Scott and Indiana guard George Hill got into it under the basket after a missed shot, shoving each other in front of the Pacers bench. Replays showed George and a teammate taking a step onto the court, though they were quickly pushed back by the assistant coaches. No punched were thrown. Scott and Hill were each assessed a technical foul.

Thunder 104, Grizzlies 84 * Kevin Durant insisted the Thunder facing elimination was all the motivation he needed. …

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