INDIANAPOLIS -- With a little more height and a bit of luck, T.J. Ford might have had back-to-back triple-doubles.
His 6-foot frame left him a bit short on rebounds in both games, but he's fine with it because the Pacers won each time. Ford had 24 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds on Monday night to help Indiana beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 107-99.
In his previous game, Ford had 13 points, nine rebounds and nine assists in a victory over New Jersey. He's never had a triple-double in his NBA career.
"It will come," Ford said. "I'm not a big guy that's trying to play off stats. If it happens, it happens."
His teammates are having fun with the fact that the shortest player on the team has somehow been among its top rebounders the past two games.
"That's pretty good for a 5-7 guy," forward Danny Granger joked.
Ford scored 11 points in the fourth quarter as Indiana (3-3) pulled away. Granger added 20 points and seven rebounds for the Pacers, who won their second straight.
Kevin Durant led the Thunder (1-6) with 37 points and eight rebounds, but he was dissatisfied with his team's effort in the fourth quarter.
"I found some good looks, I was able to knock some down, but we've got to learn how to finish our games."
No other Oklahoma City player scored more than 14 points in the team's fourth consecutive loss.
"We're trying to find our way offensively in the halfcourt," Oklahoma City forward Nick Collison said. "We struggled. When Kevin scores close to 40, it's great for us, but we've got to find a way to get some easy buckets, too."
Ford took charge of the offense in the fourth quarter when Granger, the Pacers' leading scorer this season, got into foul trouble.
Indiana led 96-95 in the fourth quarter, but Oklahoma City had a chance to take the lead when Indiana's Jeff Foster took a charge from Russell Westbrook. Indiana's Marquis Daniels made a layup to make it 98-95, then another turnover by the Thunder led to a running bank shot by Foster that gave the Pacers a 100-95 lead.
Ford drained a 3-pointer with 1:14 to go, then made a layup with 37 seconds left to make it 105-99 and put the Pacers in control for good.
"Sometimes you're going to be able to make those shots, sometimes you're not," Ford said. "Fortunate enough, they went in tonight."
There were nine lead changes and three ties in the fourth quarter.
"It was key moments that we had," Granger said. "The score was kind of teeter-tottering back and forth, but when we needed the big defensive plays, we got them."
Oklahoma City shot 52 percent in the first quarter to take a 34-24 lead. The Thunder led 39-24 before the Pacers went on an 11-0 run to climb back into the game. During that stretch, Indiana held Oklahoma City scoreless for five minutes, and the Thunder missed 10 consecutive shots.
Indiana trimmed Oklahoma City's lead to 51-48 at halftime by holding the Thunder to 25 percent shooting in the second quarter.
Two free throws by Granger tied the score at 58, then a pull-up jumper by Ford with eight minutes left in the third quarter gave Indiana its first lead since the opening period. A 3-point play Robert Swift put the Thunder up 78-77 in the final minute of the third quarter, but Foster made one of two free throws with 20 seconds left to tie the score at 78 at the end of the period.
It was another tough loss for the Thunder, who often have been close before collapsing late in games.
"We just had another bad stretch where we couldn't get a stop," Collison said. "They were able to get up about five with probably about two minutes left. That's been the story of our year."
|'It will come,' T.J. Ford says after missing his first career triple-double in the Pacers' victory. (AP)|
|Oklahoma City (1-6)||34||17||27||21||99|
|Indiana (3-3) «||24||24||30||29||107|
|OKC:K. Durant 37 Pts
OKC:N. Collison 8 Reb
OKC:E. Watson 9 Ast
|IND:T. Ford 24 Pts
IND:T. Ford 7 Reb
IND:T. Ford 10 Ast
|Players of the Game|
|K. Durant, SF||40||13-27||9-9||8||2||2||37|
|J. Green, SF||33||5-14||2-2||7||1||1||14|
|N. Collison, C||32||5-10||1-2||8||1||2||11|
|E. Watson, PG||31||2-11||0-0||2||9||3||4|
|J. Petro, C||17||1-4||2-2||8||0||2||4|
|D. Mason, SF||29||0-5||2-4||4||2||5||2|
|R. Westbrook, PG||26||1-10||3-4||2||4||4||6|
|J. Smith, PF||19||6-8||0-0||5||0||3||12|
|R. Swift, C||13||3-4||3-3||7||0||2||9|
|C. Wilcox, PF||Did Not Play|
|D. Wilkins, SG||Did Not Play|
|M. Sene, C||Did Not Play|
|K. Weaver, SG||Did Not Play|
|D. White, PF||Did Not Play|
|S. Hill, C||Did Not Play|
|Complete Box Score|
|T. Ford, PG||40||10-19||2-2||7||10||2||24|
|J. Foster, C||36||4-8||7-9||5||3||3||15|
|M. Daniels, SG||36||6-13||2-2||4||1||1||14|
|D. Granger, SF||30||7-16||5-7||7||2||5||20|
|T. Murphy, C||13||0-3||0-0||3||0||1||0|
|J. Jack, PG||32||4-7||3-4||6||2||1||11|
|B. Rush, SG||18||1-6||2-2||2||1||1||4|
|J. McRoberts, PF||10||1-2||0-0||1||1||1||2|
|R. Hibbert, C||10||4-6||0-3||3||0||4||8|
|M. Baston, SF||8||2-3||0-0||2||0||3||4|
|T. Diener, PG||6||2-2||0-0||1||1||0||5|
|R. Nesterovic, C||Did Not Play|
|J. Tinsley, PG||Did Not Play|
|M. Dunleavy, SG||Did Not Play|
|S. Graham, SF||Did Not Play|
|Complete Box Score|