And when you’re not, you’re the Thunder on a Sunday night, playing a team they logically ought to clobber, inasmuch as said team hasn’t won a game on the road all season, and further, said team is missing a couple of key players. But the Indiana Pacers paid no attention to these matters, opened up an early lead which widened to as much as 15 late in the third quarter, and generally came in looking like they were ready for an overdue road win. But the patented Oklahoma City fourth-quarter defense was deployed, and when Thaddeus Young missed two free throws just inside the three-minute mark, the Thunder tied it up. With 38 seconds left, the Pacers were up one, and Myles Turner drew a foul which radio guy Matt Pinto disparaged as questionable. Turner sank both freebies, making it a three-point game. A quick Russell Westbrook layup closed the gap to one, and after Andre Roberson failed to connect on a trey, Jeff Teague collected two more from the stripe to make it 103-100. Westbrook, undaunted, launched one from about two feet beyond the arc, and overtime ensued. But overtime was not going to fall OKC’s way: the offense, which had methodically rattled off 33 points in the fourth quarter, struggled to produce eight, and the Pacers, without Paul George, without C. J. Miles, but with plenty of old-fashioned grit, walked away 115-111 winners, evening their record at 7-7 and dropping the Thunder to 8-6 just in time for a road trip.
One number stands out: 51. This is the number of rebounds collected by the Pacers, who are normally not the most effective rebounders. (Let’s say, 29th of 30.) OKC grabbed only 49. In part due to the length of the game, all five Indiana starters finished in double figures, led by Teague with 30. Westbrook crafted another triple-double (31-11-15), but he was 13-34 from the floor. And the long ball was once again a liability for the Thunder: only 10 of 36. (The Pacers made 11 of 22.)
The road will now be hit. We’ll pick things up on Tuesday with the Lakers.