Pacers frustrate 76ers, keep Philly waiting for top-seed clincher
Caris LeVert #22 of the Indiana Pacers celebrates after making a basket late in fourth quarter of the 103-94 win against the Philadelphia 76ers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on May 11, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Pacers frustrate 76ers, keep Philly waiting for top-seed clincher

(Agence France-Presse) - May 12, 2021 - 11:43am

LOS ANGELES — Caris LeVert scored 24 points as the Indiana Pacers staged a fourth-quarter rally to frustrate the Philadelphia 76ers' bid for the Eastern Conference top seed playoff ranking on Tuesday.

The Sixers could have clinched top spot heading into the playoffs with a victory over the Pacers, who are ninth in the standings, but instead crashed to a 103-94 defeat in Indianapolis.

The Sixers led by 16 points late in the second quarter, but were gradually reeled in by a dogged Pacers performance during the second half.

Two LeVert free throws edged Indiana into a 94-92 lead with just under four minutes remaining and the Pacers duly held on to close out the win.

Doug McDermott added 20 points for Indiana while Domantas Sabonis and Justin Holiday each had 16 points apiece.

The Sixers scoring was led by power forward Tobias Harris with 27 points while Ben Simmons finished with 20 points eight rebounds and seven assists.

Philadelphia's preparations had been disrupted by a late withdrawal from Cameroon big Joel Embiid, who was ruled out with an undisclosed non-Covid illness earlier Tuesday.

"We didn't have any execution tonight, we really didn't," Sixers coach Doc Rivers said. "We lost our focus. Just couldn't make anything in the second half."

In other games Tuesday, the Miami Heat provided more evidence that they are hitting form at the right time with a 129-121 win over the Celtics in Boston to book their playoff place.

Miami, beaten by the Los Angeles Lakers in last season's NBA Finals, punched their ticket to the postseason with a confident victory which saw Tyler Herro finish with 24 points and 11 rebounds.

Five other Miami players finished in double figures, with Bam Adebayo and Duncan Robinson adding 22 points each.

Jimmy Butler, who left the game after being poked in the eye in the first half, had 13 points.

Elsewhere Tuesday, the second placed Brooklyn Nets warmed up for the postseason with a 115-107 defeat of the Chicago Bulls.

Kevin Durant finished with 21 points on a night when coach Steve Nash could afford to share the minutes around amongst his roster.

Only one of the nine Nets players who had game time failed to reach double figures, with Landry Shamet finishing with one point.

Zach LaVine scored 41 points for the Bulls, who are clinging onto the faint hope of securing a play-in place from the East.

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