Indianapolis, IN – The Indiana Pacers were on the cusp of their third straight blowout defeat and a nearly insurmountable climb to earn the Eastern Conference's second seed.
But then they woke up.
And in a hurry.
Paul George's go-ahead 3-pointer with 29 seconds left lifted the Pacers to a 99-94 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Indiana trailed by 20 points early in the fourth, but a 17-0 run in the frame got the Pacers back in it. A bit later, George Hill's three-point play in transition following a Lance Stephenson steal gave them their first lead of the second half, 93-92, with 46.5 seconds left.
Kyrie Irving hit two free throws to put Cleveland back on top, but Hill drove and found a George wide open in the left corner at the other end and he buried the 3-pointer to make it 96-94.
Irving was called for a charge on the Cavs' next touch and Jeff Pendergraph split a pair of free throws to keep it a one-possession game. But Wayne Ellington missed a right wing triple and George calmly sunk two free throws with six ticks remaining to seal the victory.
Indiana outscored Cleveland 35-10 in the final frame.
"We finally got back to playing like our old selves," George said.
Hill finished with 29 points to lead the Pacers, who are 2 1/2 games behind the red-hot New York Knicks for the No. 2 seed in the East.
Irving registered 29 points and seven assists for Cleveland, which has dropped 13 of its last 14 meetings against Indiana.
"We took our foot off the gas," Irving admitted.
Indiana led 29-26 after a quarter, but Cleveland outscored the Pacers 27-19 in the second to take a 53-48 advantage into the break.
The Cavs closed the third on a 13-3 burst to vault them to an 84-64 cushion heading into the fourth.
It was 88-68 in favor of Cleveland with 9:04 to play before Indiana rattled off 17 straight points over the next 4:40 to pull within 88-85 with 4:24 remaining.
Cleveland had won back-to-back games coming in on the heels of a 10-game slide ... David West recorded 15 points and nine rebounds for the Pacers ... Indiana had a 33-7 edge in fastbreak points.