The Thunder are still tied with the New Orleans Pelicans, who fell to the Houston Rockets 121-114, for the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference. After being unable to take advantage of the Pelicans' loss, the Thunder will have to play the second half of a back-to-back without their star scorer.
Westbrook was called for his 16th technical foul, and NBA rules state that a player must sit out at least 1 game when reaching that many. Thunder coach Scott Brooks says that he is hopeful that the call will be rescinded and Westbrook will play. He has already had 1 technical rescinded this season.
The Thunder have now lost 5 of their past 6, playing without both Kevin Durant and Serge Ibaka, who will miss the rest of the season with injuries. Westbrook knows he has to run this team and is doing just that since the 2 stars went down. He scored 22 points and had 4 assists in the first quarter alone on Sunday. He added 20 more in the fourth quarter, cutting the deficit to 3 at a couple points.
He was given the technical foul when he argued his 3rd foul call with 5:57 left in the game. After the made free throw and a 3-point play, the Pacers extended their lead to 9.
C.J. Miles tied his season high with 30 points, including going 6-for-8 from beyond the arc, to lead the Pacers to their fifth straight win, pulling them into a tie with the Brooklyn Nets for the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference. The Nets hold the tiebreaker between the 2 after winning the season series 2-1.
The Pacers never trailed in the second half after holding a 5-point lead at the half. The Thunder would tie it once with 7:55 to play following a Westbrook breakaway dunk. After Oklahoma City got within 3 with 1:19 to play, the Pacers held them to 1 point the rest of the way.
The Thunder fell to 43-37 on the season and will host the Portland Trail Blazers tonight, as they continue to battle the Pelicans for the 8th seed in the West. The Pacers improved to 37-43 on the year and will host the Washington Wizards tomorrow night.