Paul George was the star for the Indiana Pacers with 27 points in a 113-98 victory over the Atlanta Hawks in Game 2 on Wednesday night, but the contributions from the Pacers' bench were just as important to the win.
The Indiana bench outscored the Atlanta bench, 38-27, and the only reason the margin was that close was because of a string of points in garbage time. In the first half, the Pacers' bench had 24 points to just six for the Hawks' subs.
Gerald Green was the biggest contributor off the bench for the Pacers, as he took advantage of a hip injury to starting shooting guard Lance Stephenson. Green finished the game with 15 points on 6-of-11 shooting in 27 minutes, providing a nice scoring punch from long range and also a highlight reel play to close the third quarter to give the Pacers momentum heading into the final frame.
Indiana's bench has been rather erratic all year, so head coach Frank Vogel was pleased with the performance, especially Green's.
"Gerald really got it going," Vogel said. "He's a guy who's capable of that offensive burst. When he has it like that, you want to get him as many shots as possible. He gave us a big lift."
D.J. Augustin and Jeff Pendergraph had eight points apiece off the bench, with all eight of Augustin's coming in the first half as the Pacers built their lead. George talked about the importance of Augustin and the bench gaining confidence.
"Coach relying on them in playoffs I think is giving them confidence," George said. "That's all you really need, is the confidence. Everybody's behind them. We're backing them up. We're forcing guys to shoot the ball. Like D.J. We're constantly on D.J. We don't care if he gets his shot blocked. He shoots the ball so well when he's shooting with confidence."
The Pacers already have one of the better starting units in the NBA. If their bench can perform more consistently at a level like they did on Wednesday night, that could go a long way in helping them make a deep run in the postseason.
Quotes via NBA.com