Thunder Fall To Pacers, Drop Third Straight Game


Friday, April 6th 2012, 9:43 pm
By: News 9


News9.com

INDIANAPOLIS – It's sometimes hard for teams to get fired up following a big game, and Friday night seemed to be one of those nights.

Two days after pouring their energy and focus into a tough matchup with Miami, the Thunder came out flat but finished strong in a 103-98 loss at Indiana.

Though Oklahoma City is one of the offensive elites in the league, it certainly didn't play like it for most of the night Friday against the stifling defense of the Pacers.

Indiana forced the Thunder into 17 turnovers and held them to 44 percent shooting from the field and 32 percent from 3.

About the only bright spot for Oklahoma City was Kevin Durant, who scored easily most of the night. He ended up with 44 points with 28 of them coming in the second half and 17 coming in the fourth quarter.

But the rest of the team struggled to score with any consistency. Durant's teammates combined to shoot just 36 percent (19-of-53) without him.

Westbrook put up good numbers, flirting with a triple double with 21 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists.

But he shot just 7-of-23 overall to contribute to the Thunder's rough shooting numbers.

The game was one of those in which Oklahoma City could never really get off the ground right from the start.

Three minutes in, a jumper from Indiana's David West gave his team a 9-8 lead and it never trailed again.

The Pacers pushed their lead out to 15 by halftime and led by as many as 22 multiple times in the game.

OKC came up with a strong showing in the fourth quarter, chiseling the lead down to single digits, but by that point time was not on the Thunder's side.

A 7-0 run with two minutes to play got the lead down to 96-91 in the Pacers' favor and OKC eventually cut it to three, but Indiana began to hit its free throws to close things out.

The loss marked the first time this season OKC has lost three straight games, and the standings in the Western Conference are reflecting that.

Once with a comfortable lead, OKC is now tied with San Antonio in the standings after the Spurs' 128-103 win on Friday. And the Spurs hold the tiebreaker over OKC due to the season series between the two teams.

The Thunder will stay on the road to face a little less prolific opponent on Sunday night in Toronto. Tipoff against the Raptors is set for 6 p.m.