Pacers use late surge to beat Clippers, close in on playoffs

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Pacers use late surge to beat Clippers, close in on playoffs
Los Angeles Clippers guard Lou Williams (23) drives on Indiana Pacers guard Cory Joseph (6) during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Indianapolis, Friday, March 23, 2018. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Bojan Bogdanovic scored 28 points and the Indiana Pacers used a late 9-0 run to hold on for a 109-104 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday night, putting them on the precipice of clinching a playoff spot.

The Pacers won for only the second time in five games but can clinch a playoff berth with one more win or a Detroit loss.

Los Angeles’ fading playoff aspirations were dealt another blow. The Clippers are now three games behind Utah for the final postseason spot in the Western Conference. Utah was playing later Friday.

Lou Williams led Los Angeles with 27 points and DeAndre Jordan finished with 14 points and 11 rebounds as the Clippers lost for the fifth time in six games.

They certainly had a chance to turn things around.

After the Clippers rallied from an 18-point deficit to take an 88-87 lead with 7:36 left in the fourth quarter, the teams traded the lead 10 times before Victor Oladipo made one of two free throws to leave it tied at 100 with 2:17 to play.

Bogdanovic broke the tie with a 12-footer and the Pacers followed that with seven straight points before Williams made a layup with 12 seconds left to end the run.

The Clippers were making shots early but couldn’t pull away from Indiana.

They led 28-27 after one and allowed Indiana to use a 9-2 spurt midway through the second quarter to erase a six-point deficit and take a 40-39 lead.

The Pacers scored the final five points of the half to break a 53-all tie and broke it open early in the third when Oladipo made his first three shots of the game, including two 3-pointers to make it 66-55.

Indiana then poured it on. Thaddeus Young’s layup with 9:02 left in the third made it a 12-point game. Milos Teodosic’s basket briefly halted the run, but the Pacers scored the next nine points to make it 75-57 with 6:19 to go.

Los Angeles closed the third quarter on a 12-5 run to get to 82-76.

TIP-INS

Clippers: Have lost three straight in the series. … Coach Doc Rivers called two timeouts during a 13-second span in the third quarter and was clearly upset that his team wasn’t running whatever he called during the first timeout. … Tobias Harris had 18 points, Montrezl Harrell wound up with 16, and Teodosic and Austin Rivers each had 10.

Pacers: Oladipo missed all seven of his shots in the first half, wound up 4 of 16 from the field and still had 18 points. He also had two steals, giving him at least one in 56 consecutive games. Oladipo broke a tie with Chris Paul and Gary Payton for the sixth-longest streak in NBA history. … Darren Collison had 13 points and 10 assists.

UP NEXT

Clippers: Finish a four-game road trip Sunday in Toronto.

Pacers: Host the Miami Heat on Sunday before starting a four-game West Coast swing.

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