Pacers level series, Hornets end 14-year play-off drought


The Indiana Pacers trumped the Toronto Raptors 100-83 in game four to even their Eastern Conference first-round NBA play-off series.

Indiana had dropped back-to-back games, having won the series opener last week, but the Pacers levelled the matchup at 2-2 on Saturday, recovering from their home loss two days earlier thanks to George Hill and Ian Mahinmi.

Hill - who only missed two of his 11 shots from the field - and Mahinmi posted 22 points apiece, while Paul George contributed 19 points as the Pacers head to Toronto for game five on Tuesday.

Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan struggled on the road in Indianapolis, limited to just 12 and eight points respectively.

The Charlotte Hornets recorded an overdue play-off victory, upstaging the Miami Heat 96-80 for their first post-season win in 14 years.

Back-to-back losses left the Hornets in the midst of a 12-game losing streak in the play-offs.

But that all changed on Saturday as Jeremy Lin's 18 points and an 18-0 run in the third quarter lifted the Hornets to victory in game three in Charlotte.

The Hornets trail the Heat 2-1 in the Eastern Conference.

Elsewhere, the Oklahoma City Thunder earned a 3-1 series lead thanks to a 119-108 win at the Dallas Mavericks.

So often a feisty encounter, Kevin Durant was ejected in the final minute for a flagrant foul on Justin Anderson.

Things also heated up in the second quarter, when Dallas' J.J. Barea confronted Anthony Morrow, while Russell Westbrook and Salah Mejri went face-to-face.

However, the Thunder came out on top, with Enes Kanter's 28 points and Westbrook's double-double of 25 points and 15 assists inspiring the visitors.

The Mavs - without a play-off series win since claiming the NBA championship in 2011 - were led by Dirk Nowtizki's 27 points.

Meanwhile, the Portland Trail Blazers trail the Los Angeles Clippers 2-1 after claiming a much-needed 96-88 win.