Around the Nation (May 1): Pacers beat Hawks to force Game 7

Associated Press Published:

Associated Press

BASKETBALL

Pacers force Game 7 with 95-88 victory over Hawks

ATLANTA — David West led Indiana on a 16-4 run to end the game, extending the season for the top-seeded Pacers with a 95-88 victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Thursday night.

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

But, for the fourth time in this back-and-forth affair, 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. West hit two more baskets in the final minute to wrap things up, finishing with 24 points.

Game 7 is Saturday in Indianapolis.

Thunder beat Grizzlies 104-84 to force Game 7

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — 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 to force a deciding seventh game in the first-round Western Conference series.

Russell Westbrook added 25 points for the Thunder, who haven’t been eliminated in the first round of the playoffs since 2010. They 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 ended in regulation since the opener.

Durant also had 10 rebounds and made 14-of-15 free throws.

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.  

GOLF

Cabrera bolts to early lead at Quail Hollow

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Angel Cabrera has taken the early lead at the Wells Fargo Championship with seven birdies in a round of 6-under 66.

Quail Hollow changed over to Bermuda greens as it prepares to host the 2017 PGA Championship. Cabrera took a quick liking to them, especially when he ran off five birdies over a six-hole stretch around the turn. He hung on for some key par saves the rest of the way and was two shots clear of Stewart Cink and Jonathan Byrd among early starters.

Rory McIlroy was among those at 69 as he tries to become the first repeat winner at Quail Hollow in its 12th year.

Cabrera is a two-time major champion, but the Masters and U.S. Open victory at Oakmont are his only two wins in America.

Former Kent State star Ben Curtis struggled to a 7-over 79 in the first round.

AUTO RACING

Petty upset over $25,000 fine leveled on Ambrose

CONCORD, N.C. — Marcos Ambrose understands the $25,000 fine NASCAR levied against him for punching Casey Mears in the face.

His car owner is none too pleased with the penalty and thinks his driver shouldn’t be fined for defending himself. Richard Petty says he wants to discuss the penalty with NASCAR officials.

Ambrose and Mears were both punished this week for a post-race altercation at Richmond. Mears was fined $15,000 after he angrily approached Ambrose and shoved the Australian when Ambrose appeared to be walking away. Ambrose replied with a right punch to Mears’ face that drew blood near his eye.

Ambrose is not appealing and said Thursday he’ll pay the fine. Petty thinks it is ridiculous that his driver was punished at all.

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