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George, Pacers even series with Hawks
Atlanta, GA (SportsNetwork.com) - Paul George and David West hit the big shots while their big man sat on the bench again in the fourth quarter.
George and West knocked down consecutive 3-pointers to cap a big run in the final minutes Saturday, and the Indiana Pacers escaped with a 91-88 win over the Atlanta Hawks to even their first-round Eastern Conference playoff series at two games apiece.
George's shot with 2:11 remaining gave the Pacers the lead for good and West's -- from the same spot on the high left side moments later -- ended an 11-2 run that gave Indiana a four-point lead with 1 1/2 minutes left.
George later clanked two free throws off the rim with 7.5 seconds left and a chance to make it a two-possession game.
But Atlanta's Pero Antic missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer and the Pacers held on to pull even in the best-of-seven series heading into Monday's Game 5 in Indianapolis.
"It (was) one of those games we have to do whatever it takes to win," said Pacers coach Frank Vogel. "I thought our offensive motor improved. Nineteen fast-break points might have been more than we've had in two months. Our guys got out and played with force and we're pretty good when we do that."
George had 24 points and 10 rebounds, West scored 18 points and George Hill added 15 for the Pacers, who sat struggling 7-foot-2 center Roy Hibbert in the fourth quarter for the third straight game.
Hibbert, who started despite speculation he would come off the bench, was 3- for-5 for six points and picked up his first two blocks of the series. He has 24 points and 17 rebounds in the four games.
Paul Millsap scored 29 points for the Hawks, but just 11 came after halftime as the forward battled foul trouble. Kyle Korver added 15 points, including three free throws after he was fouled late on a 3-point try from the right corner.
Those shots got Atlanta within a point with 1:24 remaining, but Hill responded with a driving one-hander at the other end after grabbing an offensive rebound and the teams traded blunders after that.
After Millsap threw a pass away, Korver deflected a Lance Stephenson pass at the other end, leading to a jump ball that Stephenson tipped out of bounds.
Millsap missed a one-handed shot in the lane after spinning off Luis Scola and DeMarre Carroll fouled George on an inbounds pass, sending him to the line for the foul shots he would miss.
"I'm tired," said George, who played 40 minutes. "But at this point whatever coach needs me to do, I'll do. I thought we played 48 minutes. ... It's so tough to guard (the Hawks). They spread the floor and have great shooters."
Atlanta had those shooters on the floor on the last play, but Antic's off- balance try on the high right side hit off the near-side rim as time expired.
"I think we're still a confident group," said Korver. "We let one slip away but we showed we can go and compete in the games (in Indianapolis). That's what our mindset is now. We have to let this one go and get ready for Monday."
The top-seeded Pacers will have a chance to take a lead for the first time in the series with a win in Game 5.
They have made it out of the first round each of the last two seasons, losing in the conference finals last year to Miami after taking the Heat to a seventh game.
The Pacers are one game below .500 since beating Miami in a spirited meeting March 26 in Indianapolis, the night they clinched the Central Division title.
"This game could have gotten away from us," said George. "We'd be down 3-1. It's going to be a long series. This team is not going away. We just have to build some consistency."
The Pacers went on a 14-3 run after Millsap picked up his fourth foul and checked out of the game with 9:42 remaining in the third quarter. Hill knocked down a 3-pointer to punctuate it, giving Indiana a 56-54 lead.
Millsap later checked back in and scored four of Atlanta's last six points in the quarter as the Hawks drew within 66-65 going into the fourth.
Earlier, the Pacers opened the game with an 8-0 run and led 29-22 at the end of the first quarter before making just five of their 20 shots in the second.
Millsap scored six of his 18 first-half points during a 13-1 run that gave the Hawks a 10-point lead. Jeff Teague split the defense for a finger roll to cap the burst after the Hawks almost turned the ball over, but Indiana scored four straight points to pull within 48-42 at halftime.
Mike Scott scored 12 points off the bench for the Hawks ... Atlanta shot 35.7 percent overall -- just a tad better than their 3-point percentage (11-for-31) ... The Hawks scored 22 points off 14 Indiana turnovers.
04/26 18:12:39 ET
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