NBA: Pacers top Heat to claim No 4 in Eastern Conference

Orlando, Aug 15 (Agencies) | Publish Date: 8/15/2020 10:22:53 AM IST

The Indiana Pacers earned the right to be the ‘home’ team to begin their first-round playoff series with the Miami Heat by beating their Eastern Conference rivals 109-92 in their regular-season finale. 

Aaron Holiday bombed in a pair of three-pointers in a game-opening 21-7 flurry that gave Indiana (45-28) a lead for good in a match-up of teams that entered the game tied for fourth place in the East.
The Pacers and Heat (44-29) will next play in a best-of-seven playoff series, beginning on Tuesday. Indiana will enter the postseason as the fourth seed in the East, while Miami will be No 5.
With nothing at stake other than the color of jerseys for the playoff opener, the Pacers played without TJ Warren, Domantas Sabonis, Victor Oladipo and Myles Turner. The Heat rested Jimmy Butler, Goran Dragic, Bam Adebayo, Jae Crowder and Andre Iguodala. The loosely played game featured one scary and one memorable moment.
The scary moment occurred when Heat swingman Derrick Jones Jr took a hard fall in the third quarter and had to be tended to on the court for several minutes. Fearing a neck injury, he was taken off the floor on a stretcher. The seriousness of his injury wasn’t immediately known.
A lighter scene resulted when Heat veteran Udonis Haslem connected on his first three-point basket since 2018. The 17-year veteran is now 5-for-58 from beyond the arc in his career.
Doug McDermott led the way for the Pacers with 23 points. Malcolm Brogdon, one of the few regulars who saw action in the game, added 16.
Kendrick Nunn matched McDermott’s 23-point total to share game-high scoring honors for the Heat, who lost for the fifth time in their eighth rescheduled games.
Philadelphia 76ers 134- 96 Houston Rockets: Tobias Harris paired 18 points with seven rebounds in 24 minutes while Joel Embiid added 14 points and six rebounds in limited action as Philadelphia turned a blistering first-half shooting display into a runaway victory over Houston. The 76ers shot 60 percent prior to the intermission, including a robust 10 of 16 on 3-pointers, in cruising to a 24-point halftime lead.
James Harden recorded his 22nd double-double for the Rockets, posting game-highs in points (27) and assists (10). With a pair of free throws at the 5:39 mark of the first quarter, Harden passed Hall of Famer center Walt Bellamy (20,941 points) for 36th in NBA career scoring.
Toronto Raptors 117-109 Denver Nuggets: Stanley Johnson scored a season-best 23 points to lift Toronto past Denver in the final regular-season game for both teams.
Several regulars either did no play or had limited minutes for the Raptors, who went 7-1 since the restart, have the second-best overall record in the NBA and begin the postseason next week as the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference. Paul Watson added 22 points for Toronto, which rested Kyle Lowry, Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet. OG Anunoby and Serge Ibaka were out with knee injuries. P.J. Dozier scored 20 points and Monte Morris added 16 for Denver, which is slotted as the fourth seed in the West. Top players Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray both played less than 11 minutes.
Los Angeles Clippers 107-103 Oklahoma City Thunder: Terance Mann recorded career bests of 25 points, 14 rebounds and nine assists, and Los Angeles defeated Oklahoma City in overtime in the regular-season finale for both teams.
Amir Coffey scored a career-high 21 points before fouling out with 6.7 seconds left for the Clippers. Patrick Patterson had 17 points and a career-best 14 rebounds, while JaMychal Green added 13 points and eight rebounds for Los Angeles.
Hamidou Diallo led the Thunder with a career-high 27 points, while Dennis Schroder contributed 17. Schroder, who recently returned to the bubble after the birth of his second child, played in his first game since August 1.


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