Paul George has been challenged to lead the Pacers all season. For the first time in the playoffs, he looked the part.
He and David West combined to sink the Hawks on the road, tying their first-round series 2-2 as the teams fly back to Indiana next week.
George ended the game with 24 points and 10 rebounds while West contributed 18 including his own late three.
Indiana hit three consecutive threes to reel in and pass the Hawks with George and a rare West three while holding the Hawks to several tough looks and turnovers.
Atlanta had numerous opportunities to tie the game but repeatedly made terrible decisions. The Hawks final three possessions all ended with either a miss or a turnover.
The game was sealed after Pero Antic’s three at the buzzer clanked off the right side of the rim, the Pacers preventing the ball from getting into the hands of three-point specialist Kyle Korver.
The crunch time heroics were exactly what Indiana needed to hopefully get their series back on track after two questionable losses.
One sore point from the win will be that Roy Hibbert did not play a single minute in the fourth quarter and has played just six fourth-quarter minutes in the series. This was the center considered the best in the league around Christmas.
Paul Millsap was unstoppable save for foul trouble in the early going, helping Atlanta take a 54-44 halftime lead as Philips Arena cheered the team towards an unlikely 3-1 series lead.
Millsap’s foul trouble kept him benched for most of the third quarter after he picked up two fouls in the space of seven seconds. The Pacers took advantage, slimming the lead to just five by the time Millsap returned to the game.
Millsap finished the game with 29 points on 10-18 from the floor. Kyle Korver added 15 and again was a pest on defense, harrying the Pacers into rushed decisions and turnovers, one in the final minute to give the Hawks one more chance.
Jeff Teague could not recreate the magic that has helped Atlanta win two games so far in this series as he burped up a poor 4-14 shooting effort under constant defense by Lance Stephenson and Paul George.
Paul George: 24 points, 10-18 FGS, 10 rebounds
David West: 18 points, 7-13 FGS, 5 rebounds
George Hill: 15 points, 5-8 FGS, 5 assists
Paul Millsap: 29 points, 10-18 FGS, 7 rebounds
Kyle Korver: 15 points, 4-9 FGS, 9 rebounds
Jeff Teague: 14 points, 4-14 FGS, 7 assists
Game 5 @ IND: Monday April 28, Tip: 8pm (NBA TV)