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Pacers hold on to top spot in East

AP

The Pacers were back to being themselves Sunday.

They made shots. They defended hard for 48 minutes. Lance Stephenson regained his swagger and, yes, the reeling Pacers even looked like a playoff-ready team.

David West made three free throws in the final 15 seconds and Stephenson produced his league-leading fifth triple-double to give Indiana a 102-97 win over Oklahoma City, putting the Pacers on the cusp of clinching the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference.

“We’re going to treat it (the season finale) like a playoff game. We have to get that No. 1 spot,” Stephenson said. “That’s what we wanted from the beginning of the season so we have to take it, not get it, we have to take it.”

All they need is a win Wednesday night at Orlando or one more Miami loss. The Heat visit Washington on Monday and host Philadelphia on Wednesday.

It’s been a wild second-half ride for Indiana (55-26), which held the top spot in the East from opening night in October until the last week of March. When the Pacers beat the Heat on March 26, they had a three-game lead and a seemingly firm grasp on home-court advantage.

As the losses mounted, though, Miami charged back and finally took the top spot on March 31. But rather than pulling away, the two-time defending champs gave the lead right back.

Miami retook a one-half game by beating the Pacers at home Friday, then fell into a tie with Indiana after losing Saturday night in Atlanta.

The Pacers went into Sunday’s game with six losses in eight games and the knowledge that all they had to do was win their last two — because they have a better conference record than the Heat.

Six players reached double figures including West, who had 21, and Stephenson, who had 17 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds. He broke Detlef Schrempf’s franchise record for most triple doubles in a season (four in 1992-93).

“He’s a big part of our personality, a big part of our edge, a fan favorite with good reason and he’s one of the head coach’s favorites,” Pacers coach Frank Vogel said after getting a low-five from Stephenson after a late 3-pointer.

Raptors 116, Pistons 107

In Auburn Hills, Michigan, DeMar DeRozan scored 14 of his 30 points in the fourth quarter, and Toronto tied a franchise record with its 47th win of the season.

Grizzlies 102, Lakers 90

In Los Angeles, Mike Conley scored 24 points and Memphis pulled away in the third quarter to beat the Lakers, moving the Grizzlies a game ahead of idle Phoenix in the race for the final Western Conference playoff berth.

Blazers 119, Warriors 117 (OT)

In Portland, LaMarcus Aldridge scored 26 points, including the go-ahead jumper in overtime.

Kings 106, Timberwolves 103

In Sacramento, Ray McCallum hit back-to-back 3-pointers in a pivotal stretch midway through the fourth quarter, DeMarcus Cousins had 35 points and 15 rebounds, and the Kings beat Minnesota.

Nets 97, Magic 88

In New York, Mirza Teletovic scored a team-high 20 points, Joe Johnson and Mason Plumlee each added 17 and Brooklyn beat Orlando.

Knicks 100, Bulls 89

In New York, Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 20 points and the Knicks, a night after being eliminated from playoff contention, beat Chicago.