Paul George tallied his first playoff triple-double despite shooting 3-of-13 overall as the Indiana Pacers won 107-90 at home to take a 1-0 series lead over the Atlanta Hawks in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.
George finished with 23 points, 12 assists and 11 rebounds. He went to the foul-line a whopping 18 times thanks to whistle-happy refs and sank 17 free-throws.
George Hill got off to a hot start hitting his first five shots and scoring 13 of his 18 points in the first quarter. However, he cooled down as the game went on and finished 7-of-10 shooting overall.
Roy Hibbert scored 16 points on 17 shot attempts but was huge on the glass grabbing six offensive rebounds. He finished with eight boards total, two blocks and one steal. All of Hibbert’s rebounds came in the second half, he had zero at halftime.
Lance Stephenson and David West each scored 13 points. Stephenson added five rebounds, four assists, three steals and one block, while shooting five-of-nine overall in 41 minutes. West contributed with nine boards and two helpers. Gerald Green (11) was also in double-figures.
Indiana led Atlanta 58-50 at halftime and extended the advantage to 84-69 after the third period. They cruised in the last 12 minutes for the 17-point victory.
The Hawks had cut the deficit to 89-81 on DeShawn Stevenson’s 3-point make at the 7:22 mark in the fourth quarter, but the Pacers responded with an 12-5 spurt to widen the gap.
George hit a free-throw, Hibbert got an easy lay-up, and Green nailed a 3-point dagger down the stretch to clinch the victory.
Atlanta was led by Jeff Teague’s 21-point performance. He shot 7-of-14 overall and finished with seven assists, one rebound and one steal.
Al Horford and Josh Smith combined for 29 points on 14-of-29 shooting. Smith finished with 15 points, eight rebounds and five assists. Horford had 14 points, six rebounds, three assists, one block and one steal. He only played 28 minutes in the game and was on the bench for a crucial nine-minute stretch from the end of the third quarter to the 6:37 mark in the fourth. However, Atlanta did trim eight points off the deficit without Horford during the span.
Ivan Johnson had a nice game off the bench with 10 points, five boards, one assist, one steal and one block, while shooting five-of-eight overall in 23 minutes of action.
Indiana dominated Atlanta on the boards by a 48-32 margin and won the game on the foul-line as they had 20 more free-throw attempts overall — they won by 17.
The Hawks shot 50 percent overall as a team. Prior to today’s game, the Pacers were 0-7 against teams that shot 50 percent or better.
Indiana hosts Game 2 on Wednesday, April 24 at 7:30 PM (ET) on NBA TV.