News From Terre Haute, Indiana

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May 12, 2014

Pacers catch Wizards, take 3-1 series lead

George’s 39 leads Indiana in overcoming 19-point deficit

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Paul George poured in a career playoff-high 39 points and added 12 rebounds to lead the Indiana Pacers back from a 19-point deficit and past the Washington Wizards 95-92 on Sunday night to move 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, hosting Game 5.

George played 46 minutes and scored 28 points after halftime Sunday, including making six of his franchise playoff-record-tying seven 3-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 quite a second quarter and a key stretch of the fourth.

But George willed the Pacers back. His 3 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 2 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.

At the other end, Hibbert made a 12-foot turnaround hook shot with 1:02 remaining to put the Pacers up 94-91, the ball bouncing on the rim before dropping through.

Indiana’s next possession ended with George Hill throwing the ball out of bounds for his team’s 19th of 20 turnovers, but Harrington missed a shot at the other end. Yet another Pacers turnover gave the Wizards a second chance, and Bradley Beal was fouled. He made 1 of 2, and George grabbed the rebound. Hill was fouled, and went 1 for 2 at the line.

So the Wizards trailed by three with 6.1 seconds left. They couldn’t get the ball inbounds cleanly, though, thanks to more strong defense from the Pacers, and George corralled the ball.

INDIANA (95) — George 12-20 8-10 39, West 5-12 4-6 14, Hibbert 6-12 5-7 17,  G.Hill 6-12 2-4 15, Stephenson 3-8 0-0 8, Mahinmi 0-2 0-0 0,  Turner 0-2 0-0 0, Watson 1-4 0-0 2, Scola 0-1 0-2 0. Totals 33-73 19-29 95.

WASHINGTON (92) — Ariza 6-11 2-2 16, Nene 5-14 0-0 10, Gortat 1-3 0-0 2,  Wall 4-11 3-4 12, Beal 7-14 4-6 20, Gooden 5-10 0-0 10,  Webster 2-3 0-0 4, Harrington 4-7 3-4 11, Miller 2-6 3-3 7,  Temple 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 36-79 15-19 92.

Indiana    27    11    33    24    —    95

Washington    26    29    17    20    —    92

3-Point Goals—Indiana 10-22 (George 7-10, Stephenson 2-4, G.Hill  1-5, Watson 0-3), Washington 5-15 (Ariza 2-4, Beal 2-4, Wall 1-3,  Webster 0-1, Gooden 0-1, Harrington 0-2). Fouled Out—None.  Rebounds—Indiana 55 (George 12), Washington 42 (Ariza 9).  Assists—Indiana 20 (West 8), Washington 22 (Wall 7). Total Fouls—Indiana  19, Washington 23. A—20,356 (20,308).

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