Paul George received the NBA’s Most Improved Player award prior to Wednesday’s Game 2 showdown with the Atlanta Hawks.
He showed exactly why he won the honor after scoring a playoff career-high 27 points in Indiana’s 113-98 romp over Atlanta.
George added eight rebounds, four steals, three assists and one block to his stat line as the Pacers trounced the Hawks to take a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series. Teammate George Hill poured in 22 points on 7-of-12 shooting, including four 3-pointers, while grabbing three boards, dishing three assists and picking two pockets in 32 minutes of action.
Roy Hibbert and Gerald Green each scored 15 points. Hibbert made his presence known in the paint with nine rebounds and a game-high three blocks, while Green was huge off the bench nailing three timely 3-pointers and getting one monster dunk over Josh Smith that sent the Indiana crowd into a frenzy.
The Hawks were led by Devin Harris’ 17-point performance. Backcourt mate Jeff Teague added 16 points, five assists, three boards, two steals and one block. Al Horford had a solid effort with 13 points and 10 rebounds to go with five assists and and two steals.
Josh Smith matched Teague’s output with 16 and chipped in with six rebounds and three assists in 20 minutes of action. He spent most of the game on the bench in foul trouble after picking up two personals in the opening two minutes of the game.