Paul George’s 39 points help Pacers move one win from conference finals
Paul George scored a playoff career-high 39 points and had 12 rebounds Sunday night to lead Indiana back from a 19-point deficit and past the Washington Wizards, 95-92, leaving the Pacers one victory away from returning to the Eastern Conference finals.
The Pacers lead the second-round series 3-1 and can close it out Tuesday night at home.
George, who played 46 minutes Sunday, scored 28 points after halftime, including six of his franchise playoff record-tying seven three-pointers.
Roy Hibbert had 17 points and nine rebounds, continuing his recent surge after a poor-as-can-be start to the series. He helped Indiana overcome Washington’s 32-2 advantage in bench scoring.
That was thanks mainly to 30-somethings Al Harrington, Drew Gooden and Andre Miller, who combined for 28 points, 13 rebounds and six assists. Wizards Coach Randy Wittman likes to call that trio of not-yet-retired, best-days-behind-them guys — Miller, 38; Harrington, 34; Gooden, 32 — the “AARP group,” but they momentarily turned the game Washington’s way with a strong second quarter and a key stretch of the fourth.
There even were chants of “An-dre Mil-ler!” when he made two free throws in the fourth quarter to make it 85-76. But George willed the Pacers back.
His three-pointer with 51/2 minutes left made it 85-79, and another 30 seconds later made it 85-82, giving him seven from beyond the arc, matching a mark held by Reggie Miller and Chuck Person.
John Wall (12 points, seven assists) gave Washington what turned out to be its last lead at 91-90 with about two minutes to go. George pushed Indiana back in front with two foul shots, and the Pacers then made a key defensive stand, forcing a shot-clock violation.
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