George followed up his triple-double in Game 1 with a playoff career-high 27 points, eight rebounds and four steals to lead the Indiana Pacers to a 113-98 victory over the Atlanta Hawks in Game 2 on Wednesday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. The victory puts the Pacers up 2-0 over the Hawks with their opening-round series now shifting to Atlanta.
The Pacers' offense rolled all game long, shooting near 50 percent for much of the night and hitting 10 three-pointers. In addition to George, Indiana got a huge game from George Hill, who finished with 22 points on 7-of-12 shooting while hitting some big second-half shots to help put the game away. Roy Hibbert chipped in 15 points and nine rebounds.
Indiana also got a major contribution from its bench, with Gerald Green doing much of the damage. Green had 15 points on 6-of-11 shooting as the Pacers' reserves outscored the Hawks' subs 38-27, with the margin being that close only due to some garbage points.
The Hawks played relatively well offensively for much of the game before fading at the end. Devin Harris led Atlanta with 17 points, while Josh Smith and Jeff Teague both had 16. Smith scored his 16 points in just 20 minutes, as his night was marred by foul trouble right from the start. Al Horford added a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds.
After getting blown out in Game 1, it initially looked like the Hawks were going to be a bit more competitive on Wednesday night. Atlanta scored the first five points of the game, but Indiana quickly struck back and the game settled into a back-and-forth affair before the Pacers took control toward the end of the quarter. The Hawks started hot from the field, but cooled off and found themselves once again in foul trouble.
George picked up right where he left off, scoring 11 points in the opening frame. Hibbert also got off to an excellent start, scoring seven points and handing out some nifty assists. The Pacers ended the quarter on a spurt, going on an 8-2 run to take a 25-19 lead.
Indiana threatened to run away in the second quarter on the strength of their bench, but Atlanta shot the ball well enough to stay in it. The Hawks shot a blazing 63.2 percent in the quarter, but five turnovers somewhat mitigated their hot shooting. The Pacers led by as many as 11 before settling on a 59-50 halftime lead.
One of the keys to the first half was the play of Green and D.J. Augustin, who each scored eight points off the bench in the half. Both players took advantage of increased playing time due to Lance Stephenson's hip injury, and their stellar play helped the Pacers bench build a 24-6 lead over their Hawks bench counterparts after the first two quarters.
Stephenson did return in the second half, although he was playing with a noticeable limp. He was able to gut out some solid minutes as Indiana continued to play well throughout the third quarter. Smith picked up his fourth foul right at the start of the quarter, and the Pacers took advantage of his prolonged absence to go up by as many as 15 in the third. Harris did his best to keep the Hawks in it, but they still trailed by 12 heading into the final frame.
Atlanta had a few chances to get back in the game early in the fourth quarter as Smith started to catch fire, but they simply could not get enough key stops. A 9-0 run bolstered by Hill put the game out of reach midway through the fourth.
Game 3 will be on Saturday in Atlanta.