The Pacers soap opera took another turn when beleaguered center Roy Hibbert finally earned his money. He had 28 points and displayed an air of confidence as he maneuvered in the mid post with his jump hook. But his gain was the Pacers loss early in the game. Both Paul George and Lance Stephenson were denied shots. The Wizards trailed early but on the strength of Nene’s midrange game they absorbed all of the early energy of the Pacers; they outlasted them and led going into half despite it being Hibbert’s best half in the playoffs. In the second half the Wizards missed shots and the Pacers kept feeding Roy Hibbert or George Hill who the Wizards refused to guard. A two point deficit was a four point lead going into the final quarter for the Pacers who still did not look like the Pacers of old but they were good enough. The Wizards took control of the fourth and then started jacking up bad three point shots as they panicked once the Pacers took the lead. One brick after another clanked off the rim which only played into the Pacers hands. Down the stretch the Pacers did not have to play tough defense to tie the series, they just had to rebound. Indiana 86 Washington 82
Oklahoma City 112 Los Angeles 101: Kevin Durant showed off his MVP award to the enthusiastic Oklahoma City crowd. Then he began the game with a brilliant offensive performance. He had 17 points in the first quarter. The Clippers withstood the early rally as Chris Paul continued to make threes and dished the ball. Russell Westbrook was dynamic and emotional, cutting through defenders to get to the rim for dunks. He had a triple double, 31 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists. Durant had 32 points, 12 rebounds, 9 assists. The Clippers could never match the energy of the Thunder’s stars who were both desperate and determined to tie the series. On the other hand, Blake Griffin was inconsistent, present on some possessions and disappearing at other times. He had 15 points and Chris Paul had 17 points and 11 assists.