The Union Recorder

Local Sports

April 22, 2013

George bails out Pacers in 107-90 win over Hawks

INDIANAPOLIS — Paul George offered to do anything it took to win in the playoffs.

He lived up to his word.

The All-Star forward scored a career playoff high 23 points Sunday, finished with 11 rebounds and 12 assists, played good defense and, yes, led the rejuvenated Pacers to a 107-90 victory over Atlanta and their first 1-0 lead in the playoffs since 2006.

"I just tell myself, 'keep attacking,'" George said. "The last week I've just really have been trying to take care of my body, getting massages, cold tub, eating healthy."

George, who had been trying to recover from an abdominal strain, and his teammates certainly had time to get healthy after coach Frank Vogel gave four of the starters three days off following last Sunday's loss at New York. None of the four — George, Roy Hibbert, George Hill and David West — logged a minute in Wednesday's regular-season finale, either.

The extra rest was just what George and his teammates needed.

They came into the playoffs with five losses in six games and trailed by at least 20 points in all six of those games. On Sunday, they trailed for exactly 5 minutes, 33 seconds, taking the lead for good when Hill knocked down one of his three 3-pointers.

George took care of the rest.

Despite going 3 of 13 from the field, the All-Star forward made his first 17 free throws — tying Reggie Miller's single-game playoff record for best percentage. George then missed his 18th and final free throw with 2:35 to play, falling just short of Miller's mark.

He did, however, achieve another milestone — joining Mark Jackson as the only players in franchise history to record a triple double in postseason play. Jackson achieved his feat May 13, 1998, against New York.

The only complaint in the Pacers' locker room was that he did too much work.

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