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GEORGE SCORED 23 POINTS AND LEADS PACERS’ 1ST PLAYOFF WIN
Tue, 23 Apr 2013 02:30 AM EDT

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

He lived up to his word. Basketball betting lines

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 Indiana Pacers to a 107-90 triumph over Atlanta Hawks and their first 1-0 lead in the playoffs since 2006.

”I just tell myself, ‘keep attacking,”’ George recounted. ”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 get over an abdominal strain, and his squad certainly had time to get healthy after coach Frank Vogel gave 4 of the starters a few days off last Sunday’s loss at New York. Not one of the 4 – 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 required.

They came into the playoffs with 5 losses in 6 games and trailed by at least 20 points in all 6 of those games. On Sunday, they trailed for precisely 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.

In spite of 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 achievement May 13, 1998, against New York.

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

The Pacers will definitely need more productivity out of George if they’re going to advance to a 2d-round matchup against either New York Knicks or Boston Celtics.  But if Sunday’s game is any indication, the Pacers seem to be back after their late-season struggles.

They had a balanced offensive attack with 6 players scoring in double figures. Hill, who sat out parts of practice Friday and Saturday with a injured left groin, made his first 6 shots and finished 7 of 10 from the field with three 3-pointers and 18 points. Hibbert still got 16 points and 11 rebounds, and backup Jeff Pendergraph scored 11 points, too.

That wasn’t all.

The Pacers outrebounded Atlanta 48-32, limited the Hawks to 14 fast-break points and 90 overall. It was their best defensive performance in 2 weeks.

And for a change, the Pacers failed to even have to try to rally from a 20-point deficit.

It’s only a start.

”All we did is protect our home court,” Vogel said. ”What do they say? The playoffs don’t really start till the home team loses a game?We took Game 1 and we have got to get Game 2.”


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