The Indiana Pacers erased a 19-point second-half deficit and took firm control of their second-round series against the Washington Wizards, pulling out a 95-92 victory to go up 3-1. Paul George had a career game, scoring 39 points and grabbing 12 rebounds.
After trimming the 19-point deficit to just one going into the fourth quarter, the Pacers went down by nine thanks to the play of a veteran Wizards reserve unit led by Drew Gooden, Al Harrington and Andre Miller. But Indiana roared back due to George's exceptional performance, going on a 14-4 run to take a one-point lead with 2:24 left.
Both teams hit a pair of free throws, and after an empty Wizards possession, Roy Hibbert put the Pacers up three with a nifty hook shot. Bradley Beal missed an open three-pointer that would have tied the game, but several bad Indiana turnovers and a missed free throw gave Washington extra life. However, the Wizards weren't able to capitalize, turning the ball over in the final seconds with yet another chance to tie.
George shot 12-of-20 and made 7-of-10 from three-point range. Hibbert had another strong game, pouring in 17 points, grabbing nine rebounds and challenging shot after shot at the rim. George Hill added 15 points, while David West had 14 as the Pacers survived despite 18 turnovers and a terrible performance from the bench. Indiana's bench had just two points, compared to 32 for Washington.
Beal had 20 points to lead Washington. Trevor Ariza added 16 points and nine rebounds, but he committed the killer turnover at the end that sealed the loss. John Wall had 12 points and shot just 4-of-11 from the field. The Wizards didn't make a single field goal after Wall knocked down a three with 4:39 left in the game.
After mostly dreadful offense in Game 3, both teams did get off to scorching starts on the offensive end in Game 4. The Pacers made six of their first seven shots and shot 60 percent in a 27-point first quarter, but the Wizards trailed by just one after shooting 57.9 percent themselves.
The game initially swung at the outset of the second quarter with primarily bench units on the floor. Harrington, Gooden and Miller keyed a 12-0 run to start the quarter, and Washington rode that momentum all the way into the half. Indiana managed just 11 points in the frame, and Wall capped off the half with a dynamite move set up by some excellent Wizards defense:
Washington scored the first two points of the third quarter to go up by 19 points, and they led by 17 points with six minutes left. Indiana then closed the quarter on a 20-4 run, with George and Hibbert doing the majority of the heavy lifting. George knocked down four three-pointers in the quarter, while Hibbert had nine points and seven rebounds to help get the Pacers within one point heading to the exciting final frame.
Indiana is now one win away from the Eastern Conference Finals, and they return home for Game 5 on Tuesday to try and advance.