INDIANAPOLIS - Jrue Holiday and Lou Williams made key shots in overtime to lead the 76ers to a 109-106 win over Indiana, snapping the Pacers' seven-game winning streak and putting the Sixers within striking distance of a playoff berth.
They lead Milwaukee by three games with three games to play after the Bucks beat New Jersey on Saturday night. Any Sixers win or any Bucks loss would clinch a berth for the Sixers. They play in Milwaukee on Wednesday.
The Sixers improved to 33-30 and are now tied with the Knicks for the seventh-best record in the Eastern Conference. New York holds the tiebreaker, so the Sixers will have to finish with a better record to earn the No. 7 seed.
Chicago holds the top seed and will play the No. 8 seed in the first round. Miami, 21/2 games behind Chicago, has the No. 2 seed and will play the No. 7 seed.
Williams converted a four-point play early in the overtime then drained a huge three-pointer later. With the Sixers trailing by one and 31 seconds left, Holiday hit a fadeaway runner to give the Sixers a 107-106 lead. He then deposited a dunk after a Sixers steal on the following Indiana possession.
"This was a huge win for us, especially at the end of the season when you're trying to make a playoff run," Williams said. "I think it's important to play good basketball at this time of the year and create some momentum and create an opportunity where you can play good basketball and you can feel good about yourself going into a playoffs."
The Sixers had a chance to win the game in regulation, but failed to convert on their final possession. With the game tied at 96, the Sixers ran the game clock down to 7.5 seconds, but a jump shot by Holiday was blocked by George Hill. Indiana then missed a desperation jumper at the buzzer to send the game into overtime.
"Lou had a big four-point play to start the overtime and then we ran a little play after a timeout and we executed perfectly and he hit the three," Sixers coach Doug Collins said. "I am so proud. They worked so hard for this."
Perhaps playing against the better teams in the league is starting to bring out the best in the 76ers. If so, that's a very good sign should they be heading to the playoffs next weekend.
Saturday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, the Sixers were facing an Indiana team that had won 11 of 12. The Sixers played their most complete game in quite some time.
There were some down times, however.
After building up a 13-point lead in the second quarter, the Sixers suddenly lost their shooting touch, missing 11 of their final 12 attempts to end the first half. When George Hill hit a turnaround 18-footer just before the buzzer, the momentum that the Sixers had built seemed to flush like Hill's jumper as the Pacers left the court ahead by 54-53.
But the Sixers responded in the third quarter by outscoring the Pacers, 28-20, and regaining the lead - and their confidence. Elton Brand scored 10 of his 20 points in the quarter and the defense, sparked by Andre Iguodala, held Indiana to 8 of 22 (36.4 percent) from the floor.