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Durant’s Thunder strike down LA Clippers 112-101 Hibbert comes alive as Pacers beat Wizards

OKLAHOMA CITY, May 8, (Agencies): Kevin Durant, who was named league MVP on Tuesday, had 32 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists as the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Los Angeles Clippers 112-101 to even their series at 1-1. Russell Westbrook registered a triple double with 31 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists for the Thunder who rebounded from a one-sided loss in game one of the best-of-seven second round series. “We just played physical, made some adjustments and played hard,” said Durant. Oklahoma City received some timely help on Wednesday night from role players like Thabo Sefolosha, Serge Ibaka and Kendrick Perkins. Ibaka tallied 14 points and seven rebounds while Sefolosha scored all of his 12 points in the third quarter in front of a crowd of 18,203 at the Chesapeake Energy Arena.

Perkins grabbed nine rebounds for the Thunder, who out-rebounded the Clippers 52-36. Chris Paul finished with 17 points and 11 assists to lead the Clippers, who went just nine-of-27 from three-point range after making 15-of-29 from beyond the arc in game one. Paul has been dealing with a sprained left thumb and right hamstring injury. J.J. Redick scored a team-high 18 points but had just two after halftime, and Blake Griffin shot a disappointing five-of-13 from the field for 15 points. Griffin finished third in MVP voting on Tuesday behind Durant. “They were by far the more physical team,” said Clippers coach Doc Rivers. “We didn’t do it back. We weren’t physical or mentally very tough.”

Lightning in the Oklahoma City area caused a minor power outage in the arena in the first half. When the teams returned to the court, the Thunder had more spring in their step. Sefolosha, who is known more for his defence than offence, scored on back-to-back possessions to cap a 10-2 run that stretched Oklahoma City’s lead to 78-66 midway through the third quarter. Later on, Ibaka’s layup off a Durant pass capped another 11-0 surge and made it 93-73, and the Thunder led by double digits the rest of the way. The series shifts to Los Angeles’ Staples Center arena for game three on Friday. Durant said they are looking forward to the challenge of playing the Clippers at home.

“We got to stick together and move the ball,” said Durant, who picked up his first career MVP award. “We have won in their building before. We got to go into a hostile environment and get the job done.” Durant lifted his new trophy in front of the Oklahoma City crowd prior to the game, but quickly had to focus on lifting his team. “I didn’t want to take that moment for granted. It was surreal. I wanted to enjoy it, but focus on the game at the same time,” Durant told reporters. “I liked our intensity and focus to start the game.”

Pacers 86, Wizards 82
In Indianapolis, Roy Hibbert woke from his slumber to lead the Indiana Pacers to a 86-82 win over the Washington Wizards in game two of their second round NBA playoff series on Wednesday. Hibbert, who went without a single point or rebound in game one, scored 28 points and grabbed nine rebounds for Indiana who levelled their best-of-seven series at 1-1.
Hibbert said all it took for him to clear his head, and break out of his funk, was to go on a fishing trip with his teammate Paul George.
“Paul took me out on his boat we fished a long time. We didn’t talk about basketball,” said Hibbert, who made the all-star team this season.
Game three will be Friday in Washington.

Hibbert scored 17 points in the first half, more than he had in the previous four games combined, leaving in the final minute of the second quarter to cheers.
“I was just trying to be aggressive and make smart decisions,” Hibbert said. “Tonight I just felt like I had one thing on my mind and that was to help this team win.”
Hibbert has two other zero point games in the playoffs.
George Hill added 14 points and Lance Stephenson scored 12 for the Indiana in front of a crowd of 18,165 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse arena.
“When George and Roy are playing like they did tonight, we’ve got pretty good balance,” said Pacers coach Frank Vogel.

“We know we have to be at our best to beat them, especially heading into their building.”
Marcin Gortat had 21 points to lead the Wizards, who won game one on Monday 102-96.
After a gruelling seven-game series in the first round with the No. 8 seed Atlanta Hawks, the Pacers are trying to find their form in this series.
Washington is now 4-1 on the road during these playoffs while Indiana is 3-3 as the host in the playoffs after going 35-6 at home during the regular season.

    1    2    3    4    T
Indiana    23    20    25    18    86
Washington    23    22    19    18    82
(The best-of-seven series is level at 1-1)
    1    2    3    4    T
Oklahoma City    37    24    33    18    112
LA Clippers    28    28    21    24    101
(The best-of-seven series is level at 1-1)

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