(The Sports Xchange) -After teetering on the edge of a gangplank through five games, the Eastern Conference top-seeded Indiana Pacers found a way, defeating the number eight Atlanta Hawks 92-80 at home in Game Seven.
Indiana advanced to play the Washington Wizards in the second round.
Having forced Game Seven with a 95-88 victory on Thursday night in Atlanta, the Pacers showed flashes of the team that dominated the East during the season’s first three months, using a 7-0 run to close the first quarter and lead, 24-23.
Indiana used an 18-4 burst to close the second quarter in building a 47-36 halftime advantage.
Pacer forward Paul George, who finished with 30 points, had a 16-point first half and guard Lance Stephenson added 10 during the pivotal first 24 minutes.
Much-maligned and struggling center Roy Hibbert added nine points and five rebounds before intermission, when Indiana dominated the boards, 27-13.
Stephenson finished with 19 points and 14 rebounds. George had 11 rebounds to go with his 30 points.
Atlanta guard Kyle Korver, who led Atlanta with 19 points, scored 12 first-half points, including a rare four-point play that gave the Hawks a 32-29 lead with 9:34 remaining in the second quarter.
But that is when Indiana responded with the 18-4 run that included 10 points from George.
The Pacers continued to apply the pressure in the third quarter and it was 62-45 when the Hawks mounted another charge, outscoring the Pacers 18-9 to close the quarter and pull to within 71-63 with 12 minutes to go.
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Thunder 120, Grizzlies 109
Kevin Durant scored 33 points to lead Oklahoma City to a 120-109 Game Seven win over the Memphis Grizzlies at the Chesapeake Energy Arena.
The victory puts the Thunder into the Western Conference semi-finals for the fourth straight season, where they will play the Los Angeles Clippers.
After fighting through a hard-nosed Memphis defense for six games, Durant torched the Grizzlies in the winner-take-all contest. He shot 12-for-18 to go with eight rebounds and five turnovers.
Russell Westbrook was just as electric posting 27 points, 10 rebounds and a career-high 16 assists. It is his second triple double of the postseason. In only his second game as a starter, forward Caron Butler added 15 points.
Playing without their leading scorer, the Grizzlies went to center Marc Gasol to carry them. He led the team with 24 points, but was held to two rebounds. He made only one field goal after the first period.
Guard Mike Conley chipped in with 20 points and nine assists, despite playing with a bad hamstring.
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Clippers 126, Warriors 121
The Los Angles Clippers held their nerve down the stretch to record a 126-121 victory over the Golden State Warriors in a decisive Game Seven of their Western Conference quarter-finals series before a sellout crowd at Staples Center.
Forward Blake Griffin led the way for the Clippers, scoring 24 points. Point guard Chris Paul and guard Jamal Crawford had 22 points apiece and guard J.J. Redick added 20 points. Paul also had 14 assists.
Center DeAndre Jordan had 15 points and 18 rebounds for the Clippers, who advance to second round to face the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Redick’s two free throws with 12.1 seconds remaining were the difference for the Clippers, who advanced to the second round for only the third time since they moved to Los Angeles.
Guard Stephen Curry scored 33 points and had nine assists for the Warriors, while forward Draymond Green scored 24 points and had seven rebounds.
Forward Andre Iguodala’s three-pointer gave the Warriors a 107-106 lead with 4:27 left in the game, but Paul found Jordan for an alley-oop dunk to give Los Angeles a one-point advantage with 3:39 left.
Two free throws by Curry gave Golden State the lead again with 2:22 remaining before Griffin scored inside and drove home a Redick pass for a dunk at 112-109 lead with 1:54 left.
The Warriors came out blazing, shooting 72.2 percent in the first quarter and 58.5 percent in the first half to take a 64-56 lead at the break.