Pacers vs Heat, Spurs vs Thunder for a place in the NBA Finals…
The Indiana Pacers and Oklahoma City Thunder closed out their respective series’ on Thursday night and will now advance to the Conference finals.
Despite all the adversity that they faced during their struggles through the opening first two rounds, the Pacers showed grit and toughness to prevail against both the Atlanta Hawks and Washington Wizards to reach the Eastern Conference finals.
While they may still not be at the level of their early season form just yet, they will now relish the opportunity of facing the Miami Heat for a place in the NBA Finals, and with their key players seemingly finding their feet again it promises to be an enthralling match-up.
From Roy Hibbert’s revival, to the collective effort on the defensive end to Paul George showing signs of why he is regarded as this team’s superstar to David West finishing the job with 29 points on Thursday night.
Coach Frank Vogel will be delighted with the different aspects he has seen over the past week or so, but he will now want to see them all executed together in order to go a step further than last year.
Marcin Gortat had 19 points while John Wall had 12 points and nine assists, but it wasn’t enough for the Wizards although they will be buoyed by the progress that they have made this season.
Nevertheless, all eyes will now be on the Heat-Pacers series, and after the two went the distance last year, it is widely expected that there will be little to separate them this time round either.
Over in the Western Conference, Kevin Durant scored 39 points and added 16 rebounds to oust the Los Angeles Clippers and set up a meeting with the San Antonio Spurs.
Russell Westbrook added 19 points and 12 assists as the dynamic duo had another influential role in the game, with Durant insisting that experience helped them as well as being so familiar with one another after years spent together.
Chris Paul had 25 points and 11 assists while Blake Griffin added 22 points, eight rebounds and eight assists before fouling out. However, an exhausting post-season finally came to an end for the Clippers, and having gone through so much over the past month they will now look to regroup and come back stronger next year.
Indiana Pacers 93-80 Washington Wizards
Oklahoma City Thunder 104-98 Los Angeles Clippers