Thunder, Pacers stay alive in playoff series

Thunder, Pacers stay alive in playoff series
Thunder forward Kevin Durant tries to get off a shot as he falls backward between Grizzlies center Marc Gasol and guard Tony Allen (9) in the second half of a playoff game on Thursday night in Memphis. (Mark Humphrey / Associated Press)

Kevin Durant scored 36 points to break out of a slump, and the Oklahoma City Thunder routed the Memphis Grizzlies, 104-84, on Thursday night at Memphis, Tenn., to force a deciding seventh game in the first-round Western Conference series.

Russell Westbrook added 25 points for the Thunder, which hasn't been eliminated in the first round of the playoffs since 2010. Oklahoma City took control early with Durant scoring 14 points in the first quarter, led by 15 at halftime and never let Memphis get closer in the second half in the first game in the series to end in regulation since the opener.


Durant also had 10 rebounds and made 14 of 15 free throws. He had to answer questions after the shoot-around Thursday about being called "Mr. Unreliable" in a headline in the Oklahoma City newspaper. Durant said he had no problem with the headline and that he just needed to hit shots and be more aggressive.

Smiling just before tipoff, Durant did just that as he finished 11 of 23 from the field.

Game 7 is Saturday night in Oklahoma City.

Marc Gasol had 17 points and Zach Randolph 16 for Memphis. Guard Mike Conley strained his right hamstring, briefly returned and left for good with 8:48 left.

Indiana 95, at Atlanta 88: David West scored 24 points and led Indiana on a 16-4 run to end the game, extending the season for the top-seeded Pacers.

Trailing 3-2 after losing at home for the second time in the series, Indiana was poised for an early summer when the Hawks pushed out to an 84-79 lead with just over three minutes remaining.

But, for the fourth time in the series, the road team won.

West seemed to make every big play down the stretch, scoring four straight points and forcing a huge turnover to begin the turnaround.

Game 7 is Saturday in Indianapolis.

Paul George also scored 24 points for the Pacers, making four straight free throws to help fend off a team that was trying to become only the sixth No. 8 seed to knock off a No. 1 seed.

The Pacers went with a smaller-than-usual lineup much of the game, trying to match up with Atlanta's three-point shooters. It worked. The Hawks made only nine of 35 from beyond the arc.

"I told the guys, 'If worse comes to worse, we've got to play park basketball,' " West said.