Pacers pull away late to clinch playoff spot

Pacers pull away late to clinch playoff spot

LOS ANGELES – Agence France-Presse
Pacers pull away late to clinch playoff spot

Darren Collison nailed a couple of clutch late three pointers as the Indiana Pacers clinched a postseason spot on March 25 with a 113-107 overtime win over the Miami Heat.

Victor Oladipo tallied 23 points and five assists for the Pacers who earned their seventh playoff appearance in the last eight seasons.

Collison sank the go ahead three pointer with 2:49 left in overtime to give Indiana a 101-100 lead. Collison finished with 12 points as the Pacers scored 11 unanswered points to seal the victory.

Thaddeus Young had 22 points, nine rebounds and five steals, and Bojan Bogdanovic added 18 points and eight rebounds in the win.

“Our [job] is still not done,” Young said. “We want to get as high of a seed as possible and we’re just going to continue to play and try to win as many games as possible.

“But the monkey is off our back now that we’re actually in.”

Tyler Johnson finished with 19 points, James Johnson had 15 points and nine rebounds, and Bam Adebayo added 14 points for the Heat, who won two of the four-game season series.

In losing for the 11th time in their last 12 road games, the Heat fell to No. 8 in the Eastern Conference.

The Pacers win and the Heat loss had a domino effect on the postseason race as the Philadelphia 76ers clinched even though they didn’t play March 25.

The Sixers last made the playoffs in the 2011-12 season, which was shortened to 66 games by a lockout.

Elsewhere, LeBron James scored 37 points, pulled down 10 rebounds and passed out a game-high eight assists to lead the Cavaliers over the host Brooklyn Nets 121-114.

Kevin Love added 20 points and 15 rebounds for the Cavaliers.

Also, the Milwaukee Bucks gave their NBA playoff push another boost, fighting off a furious fourth-quarter San Antonio Spurs’ rally to hold on for a 106-103 win.

James Harden had a triple-double with 18 points, 15 assists and 10 rebounds in three quarters and the Houston Rockets rolled to their 60th victory, beating the Atlanta Hawks 118-99.

Darren Collison, NBA, basketball, sports, Miami Heat, Victor Oladipo, Indiana Pacers