NBA: George’s triple-double lifts Pacers over Hawks
INDIANAPOLIS – The Indiana Pacers, buoyed by a triple-double from Paul George, seized the advantage Sunday in their NBA Eastern conference playoff series against the Atlanta Hawks with a 107-90 win.
George posted 23 points, 12 assists and 11 rebounds to lead Pacers to their first game-one win in a playoff series since 2006.
Indiana’s four other starters also scored in double figures, with George Hill contributing 18 points and Roy Hibbert 16. David West and Lance Stephenson added 13 points each for the Pacers.
The contest was the first of two Eastern Conference first-round openers on Sunday, with the reigning champion Miami Heat hosting the Milwaukee Bucks later.
The Heat captured home court advantage throughout the playoffs by building a league leading regular-season record of 66-16 — a campaign that included a moster 27-game winning streak.
Miami’s superstar trio of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh led the way, James recording more than 2,000 points for the eighth time in his career.
The Heat won three of four regular-season meetings with the Bucks, who limped into the playoffs, finishing the season 2-7 to end up the eighth seeds in the East.
In Indianapolis, George and the rest of the Pacers dominated the Hawks at the foul line.
George made 17 of his 18 free throw attempts and the Pacers made 30-of-34 from the line compated to 7-of-14 from Atlanta.
Indianapolis native Jeff Teague paced the Hawks with 21 points and seven assists. Josh Smith had 15 points and Al Horford scored 14 in the defeat, and neither was a factor in the second half.
The Hawks will try to level the series when the Pacers host game two on Wednesday.