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Preview: Pacers at Magic

Despite an uneven month of basketball, the Indiana Pacers reached their stated goal by clinching homecourt advantage throughout the Eastern Conference playoffs. Coach Frank Vogel, whose team is 5-9 in its last 14 games, is expected to rest at least three starters in the regular-season finale when the Pacers visit the Orlando Magic on Wednesday. Reportedly, Vogel will sit leading scorer Paul George along with Lance Stephenson, David West and reserve C.J. Watson against the Magic.

NBA: Pacers continue to eye top seed in East

Lance Stephenson finished with 17 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists as Indiana beat Oklahoma City 102-97 to move a step closer to clinching home-court advantage throughout the Eastern Conference playoffs. Paul George hit the go-ahead three-pointer with just over two minutes left for the Pacers who climbed a half-game ahead of Miami, which was idle Sunday, for the top seed in the East. "We've been steadily improving," Indiana's David West said. "We have to keep our focus and start the playoffs strong."

Pacers 102, Thunder 97

Pacers 102, Thunder 97: David West scored 21 points on 9-of-11 shooting and Paul George had 20 points and 12 rebounds as Indiana upended visiting Oklahoma City. Lance Stephenson recorded his fifth career triple-double with 17 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds as the Pacers moved a half-game ahead of the Miami Heat for the best record in the Eastern Conference. C.J. Watson scored a season-high 20 points as Indiana overcame 23 turnovers to win for only the third time in the last nine games.

Preview: Thunder at Pacers

The Indiana Pacers are still hopeful of claiming the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference, but the quality of the opponent could pose a problem on Sunday. Indiana hosts the Oklahoma City Thunder – the No. 2 team in the West – as it attempts to wrestle the top spot in the East away from the Miami Heat, who defeated the Pacers on Friday. Oklahoma City leads the Los Angeles Clippers by 2 1/2 games and can clinch the second seed with a victory.

James leads Heat to win over Pacers in battle for East top spot

U.S. Sports Desk, Apr 12 (EFE).- LeBron James scored 36 points to lead the Miami Heat to a 98-86 home victory over the Indiana Pacers and into first place in the Eastern Conference standings. The Pacers led the East for most of the season but they have been in a tailspin since early March and that lack of form proved costly in Friday's night's pivotal game at AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami. The Heat trailed Indiana by two after 12 minutes of play but then shifted into a higher gear to build a comfortable 76-62 advantage by the end of the third quarter.

Preview: Heat at Hawks

The Miami Heat have moved atop the Eastern Conference and look to take another step toward clinching the top seed when they visit the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday. Miami played a solid second half while knocking off Indiana on Friday to move a half-game ahead of the Pacers with three games remaining. Atlanta has a two-game lead over the New York Knicks for the final spot in the East and can claim a playoff berth with a victory.

Haslem's grit inspirational in Heat win over Pacers

Haslem's grit inspirational in Heat win over Pacers MIAMI -- Forward LeBron James' 36 points in the Miami Heat's 98-86 victory over the Indiana Pacers on Friday night at AmericanAirlines Arena were no surprise. But forward Udonis Haslem's gritty performance -- 11 points, nine rebounds, numerous charges taken and loose balls retrieved -- was an inspiration to Miami.

NBA: Heat rout Pacers to keep top seeding in sight

The NBA champion Miami Heat routed the Indiana Pacers 98-86 on Friday to position themselves to nab the number one seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs. LeBron James scored a game-high 36 points, and while the Heat haven't locked up the top seed, they control their own fate with three games remaining in the regular season against the Atlanta Hawks, Washington Wizards and Philadelphia 76ers. "I would love to see us play with this identity, to our identity, (Saturday) night," was Heat coach Erik Spoelstra's only comment on the seedings race.

Preview: Pacers at Heat

The two best teams in the Eastern Conference are struggling down the stretch, but one of them moves closer to claiming the top seed in the East when the Indiana Pacers visit the Miami Heat on Friday. Indiana holds a half-game edge over Miami entering the clash and a victory would reduce its magic number to one for clinching the No. 1 spot. The Pacers are just 8-12 over their past 20 games while the Heat is in the midst of a 10-11 stretch.

Reserves put Pacers back on top of East standings

U.S. Sports Desk, Apr 10 (EFE).- Reserve forward Chris Copeland made a difficult lay-up with just over a second remaining in regulation to give the Indiana Pacers a 104-102 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks and a half-game lead over the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference standings. On a night when coach Frank Vogel decided to rest all five of his regular starters, Copeland led a group of Pacers who filled in admirably, scoring 18 points in just 17 minutes of play.
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