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Oklahoma City Thunder: OKC drops thriller to Pacers

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Kevin Durant, Marc Gasol

FILE - In this Feb. 11, 2015, file photo, Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant (35) shoots in front of Memphis Grizzlies center Marc Gasol (33) during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game in Oklahoma City. Durant has been cleared to play without restriction after recovering from a foot injury, general manager Sam Presti said Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki, File)

The Indiana Pacers beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 101-98 Friday night, sending the Thunder to (40-15) on the season.

Both teams started hot early, but Indiana had the advantage with a 15-12 lead when the first timeout was called by the Thunder midway through the first quarter.

Thunder guard Russell Westbrook, who is coming off winning the NBA All-Star game MVP honors, had four assists with just one attempted shot in the first six minutes. He finished the quarter with six assists.

A Westbrook to Durant Slam, and a three point play by Thunder forward Serge Ibaka allowed the Thunder to crawl back and make it 21-18 with three minutes to play in the first.

The Thunder were able to close out the first quarter outscoring the Pacers and made it 24-24 by the buzzer. Westbrook racked up six assists in the first quarter while Durant led all scorers with 10 points. Pacers Forward Paul George was held to just two points.

The bench units for both teams started the second quarter, before a timeout was called and the Pacers up 28-26 with nine minutes to go. Westbrook went back in the game out of the timeout and gave the Thunder a quick spark to go up by five with seven minutes left in the first half.

The Pacers called another timeout to try to stop the Thunder momentum, but couldn’t.  The Thunder scored five more straight points to make it 40-30 with 5:20 left. Back and forth buckets, which a slight edge to the Pacers, had the Thunder up 51-44 at halftime.

Kevin Durant had 17 points and four dunks in the first half. Westbrook had 12 assists, matching his career high for a half. Westbrook now has three games with at least 10 points and 10 assists in the first half, while the rest of the NBA has only done that once.

The Thunder opened the third quarter cold, allowing the Pacers to cut the lead down to five with just over five minutes remaining. Another set of traded buckets for both teams led to a timeout with the Thunder up 65-59 with 3:46 left to play.

The Thunder established some momentum to close out the third, and were able to close the quarter up 76-67. Enes Kanter had 13 points and 10 rebounds.  

Durant had a hard fall in the final seconds of the quarter, stayed on the ground and held his right foot, and was slow to get up. There was a huge sigh of relief from the Thunder crowd when he got up and made two free throws. He played in the fourth quarter and seemed fine.

The Pacers went on an 8-2 run the start the fourth, cutting the lead down to 78-75 and forcing the Thunder to call a timeout. Out of the timeout, Thunder rookie Cameron Payne hit a two point shot to put the lead back out to five, but the Pacers hit a two point shot to cut it back to three.

A few more points by the pacers tied the game up at 82 with seven minutes left in the game. Four quick points put the Thunder back up by four at 86-82. A timeout was called with 5:47 remaining and the score 86-84 in favor of the Thunder.

After two missed shots by both teams, Durant hit a three to put the Thunder up by five. A dunk by Thunder center Steven Adams made it 91-84 with 3:56 left. The Pacers called a timeout. A foul allowed the Pacers to cut the lead down to four.

Back and forth buckets and then a turnover on the Thunder was followed by a three pointer for the Pacers, which made it 93-92 with just over a minute left. Westbrook drove to the basket and was fouled, giving him a chance to make it a three point fame with 1:10 left.

Westbrook made both free throws and the lead out to three. Pacers Forward Myles Turner hit a three to tie it at 95. The Thunder called a timeout with 55 seconds remaining.

Durant missed a three pointer out of the timeout, and Pacers guard Monta Ellis hit a three to put them up 98-95 with 18.8 seconds remaining. The Thunder once again called a timeout to draw up a play.

Westbrook missed a layup out of the timeout and the Thunder had to foul. Pacers Paul George made one of his free throws, putting the Pacers up four. The Thunder drove down and Durant hit a three to make it a one point game with 5.9 seconds remaining.

The Pacers inbounded the ball and George was once again fouled right on the inbound with 5.1 seconds remaining. He made both of his free throw and it was a three point game. The Thunder drove down and Westbrook went for a three to try to send the game into overtime but missed.

The Thunder falls to 40-15 on the season and ends its eight home game winning streak.

Up next: The Thunder take on the Cleveland Cavaliers at home Sunday. The game will be nationally televised on ABC. 

Jordan Overton is a meteorology junior and student meteorologist at The Daily.

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