George carries Pacers to another win over Hawks

Paul George was exceptional for the second straight game and the Indiana Pacers took a commanding 2-0 series lead with a 113-98 romping of the Atlanta Hawks at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Game 2 of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal.

George followed his Game 1 triple-double with an efficient 27 points on 11- of-21 shooting. The All-Star and newly minted Most Improved Player of the Year also chipped in with eight rebounds and four steals.

George Hill scored 22 and Indiana received 38 points from its bench, which was led by Gerald Green's 15. Roy Hibbert also scored 15, while also tallying nine rebounds and three blocks in the victory.

"We have to play like we're the better team and play good, hard playoff basketball," said Hill. "Tip your hat to this team, they fight on each possession."

Atlanta was unable to keep pace with the Pacers offensively, with Devin Harris scoring a team-best 17 points. Josh Smith and Jeff Teague each chipped in with 16 and Al Horford finished with 13 points and 10 boards in the setback.

"Our back are against the wall," said Horford. "They handled their home-court, Game 3 is crucial for us, we have to handle ours."

The Hawks will look to rebound when the series shifts to Atlanta on Saturday, with tip off scheduled for 7 p.m. (et).

The game went back-and-forth for the initial eight minutes of the contest, but Indiana quickly seized control and never looked back.

George struggled with his shot on Sunday, but got off to much a better start in Game 2. He was 4-of-6 for 11 points in the first, and Indiana converted 8- of-11 from the line in the frame to build a 25-19 advantage.

The Hawks were within four, 31-27, just over two minutes into the second after Harris nailed 3-pointers on consecutive possessions, but Green provided a spark off the bench to help the Pacers expand their lead.

He quickly answered with a triple and buried another 2 1/2 minutes later before throwing down a vicious one-handed slam over Smith for a 10-point Pacers lead.

Teague scored off all of his points in the first half, helping to neutralize Atlanta's 10 turnovers, and his steal and layup with 1:48 remaining in the second had the Hawks down by just five.

D.J. Augustin, though, pushed Indiana's lead back up to double-digits 40 seconds later with back-to-back 3-pointers. The Pacers were 6-of-12 from long distance in the half and took a 59-50 edge into the break.

A hip injury in the first quarter put Indiana's Lance Stephenson on the bench for the rest of the half, but he returned to start the third and his long pull up jumper capped a quick 6-0 spurt to expand the hosts' lead to 71-57 just over three minutes in.

The Hawks were only able to close the margin to eight from there, as George continued to wreak havoc on their defense, with his stepback jumper giving him 24 points with 3:17 left in the frame.

The Pacers' lead soon increased to 16 in the quarter and West fired an inbounds pass the length of the court to a streaking Green for an uncontested dunk and an 88-76 edge heading into the fourth.

A triple from Smith brought the Hawks within 10 at the 8:15 mark, but the Pacers put the contest away with an ensuing 15-1 surge to create a 110-86 lead that would hold over the final 3:55 of the contest.

Game Notes

The Hawks were 25-16 at home on the season, with both of their regular season wins against the Pacers coming on their home floor ... The Pacers had a 47-41 advantage on the glass and outscored Atlanta in the paint 48-40 ... Atlanta's reserves combined for 27 points.