PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The Indiana Pacers didn’t exactly steamroll the NBA’s worst team Saturday night. They did get a win, though, and that’s good enough for now.
Clinging to the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, the Pacers rallied from a six-point fourth-quarter deficit for a 115-102 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers.
C.J. Miles scored 25 points, including the go-ahead 3-pointer with 3:39 left for the Pacers. Indiana leads Chicago by two games in the battle for a postseason berth after the Bulls lost to Detroit on Saturday night 94-90.
“We’re satisfied with winning,” said forward Paul George, who had 20 points, eight rebounds and seven assists. “We’re not satisfied with how we won.”
Rodney Stuckey added 17 points Indiana.
“Give them credit,” George said. “They play hard, they played us all the way through, made us win this at the last two minutes.”
Isaiah Canaan had 24 points for Philadelphia (9-68), which needs one victory in its remaining five games to avoid matching the 1972-73 Sixers for the worst full-season record in NBA history.
Jerami Grant had 20 points and nine rebounds for Philadelphia, which has dropped 13 straight and 25 of 26. Carl Landry scored 19 points.
“Perhaps it gets a little deflating, but our guys are still there,” 76ers coach Brett Brown said. “We will see everybody soon, and we will play hard like we did tonight, when we see New Orleans (at home on Tuesday night).”
The Sixers were without Nerlens Noel (right knee contusion) for the sixth straight game and Richaun Holmes (right Achilles tendon strain) for the fourth straight.
Jahlil Okafor is out for the season because of a knee injury, and Hollis Thompson was a late scratch for the 76ers with an upper-respiratory infection.
They nonetheless rallied from an 18-point deficit to take the six-point lead early in the fourth quarter. The game was tied five times late, the last at 98-98 on a basket by Indiana’s Monta Ellis.
After a Philadelphia turnover, Miles drilled the last of his five 3-pointers from the top of the circle to put his team ahead to stay.
“I knew (the defender) was going to try to take me off the line,” he said. “I let him fly by, and after that it’s just make the read. If somebody comes help, I’ve got 4-on-5 now, so it’s a pass. Or if nobody comes help, I knock the shot down.”
Miles scored his points in 21:59. He became just the second Indiana player to score 25 points in such a small window since 1983-84, according to basketball-reference.com. Ron Anderson scored 25 in 21 minutes against the Knicks on April 13, 1988.
“Just playing within myself, doing what I do,” Miles said. “If I’m open, catch and shoot. If I’m not, try to read the closeout (by a defender) or get off of it, move as much as I can, run with these guys, because they push the ball and I know I can get shots in transition.”
Brown and Villanova coach Jay Wright grew close while touring the Middle East last summer as part of an outreach program sponsored by a group called PeacePlayers International, and Brown made sure to send Wright a good-luck text before the Wildcats blitzed Oklahoma 95-51 in a national semifinal in Houston.
“We pay attention from afar,” Brown said. “It’s a fantastic accomplishment. You look at how competitive college basketball is, to be one of the four teams remaining is a fantastic effort. I think it signifies a great example of a body of work. … It’s growing their culture, growing their program and now they’re being rewarded in the ultimate way.”
Pacers: Coach Frank Vogel changed his lineup, giving Lavoy Allen his first start since Jan. 26 at power forward (and his 22nd of the year), and relegating Myles Turner to a reserve role. Allen had two points and one rebound in 12:32, while Turner had eight points and 10 rebounds in 26:35. … George’s two 3-pointers gave him 200 this year. He and Reggie Miller are the only Pacers ever to record that many in a single season.
76ers: Noel and Holmes remain “game to game” with their injuries. … The Sixers’ 16 3-pointers tied a franchise record established two games ago, against Charlotte. … Philadelphia had five of its 17 turnovers in the final 4 minutes.
Pacers: Visit the Knicks on Sunday night.
76ers: Host the Pelicans on Tuesday night.
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