George leads balanced Pacers past Suns, 112-104
Posted at: 03/31/2013 12:09 AM
By BOB BAUM
(AP) PHOENIX - Paul George scored 25 points to lead all five Indiana starters in double figures and the Pacers won their fourth straight with a 112-104 victory over the Phoenix Suns on Saturday night.
Roy Hibbert scored 20, Lance Stephenson 16, George Hill 15 and David West 14 for the Pacers.
Indiana’s seventh victory in eight games lifted them a half-game ahead of idle New York for second in the Eastern Conference.
Goran Dragic, who sat out the previous two games for a rest, had 21 points and nine assists for the Suns before fouling out with 1:10 to play.
Indiana made 34 of 46 free throws, its season high in makes and attempts.
The Suns, losers of six in a row, were outscored 10-3 over the final three minutes after cutting the lead to 102-101.
Markieff Morris added 18 for the Suns, who had seven in double figures.
Down by 86-76 after three quarters, the Suns cut it to 97-94 on five points by Dragic, a fast-break layup after a long pass from Jermaine O’Neal, followed by a 3-pointer with 5:08 to play.
Dragic’s spinning layup from the baseline cut it to 99-98 with 3:43 left, then George was fouled by Wesley Johnson on a 3-point try and made all three from the line to put the Pacers up 102-98 with 3:28 to go.
But O’Neal, who had missed three of four games with a calf strain, converted a three-point play to cut it to 102-101 3:10 from the finish.
Indiana pulled away from the line.
West made two free throws with 2:46 to go, George sank two more with 1:50 to play and Stephenson made one of two with 1:10 left, leaving the Pacers up 107-101. West’s 15-footer, Indiana’s lone field goal over the final 4 1/2 minutes, made it 109-101 with 34.6 seconds to play.
After making just six of their first 15 free throw tries, Indiana made 28 of 31 the rest of the way.
The Suns outscored Indiana 10-4, six by Luis Scola, to start the second half, cutting the lead to 61-59 and were down 64-63 on Morris’ two free throws with 7:54 to play in the third. Five straight points, the last two on free throws by Hill, boosted the lead back to 69-63, but Morris’ three straight inside baskets in a 6-2 Phoenix spurt cut it to 71-69.
The Pacers pulled away to take a 78-69 lead on George’s 3. D.J. Augustin’s two free throws with 2:22 left in the period gave Indiana its first double-digit lead of the game, 82-71.
Indiana’s 12-0 first-quarter run put the Pacers ahead for good but they never led by more than 11.
NOTES: The Pacers wrap up their four-game trip to the West in Los Angeles on Monday against the Clippers. ... The Suns are 2-12 since a three-game winning streak Feb. 26-March 1. ... West played his second straight game after missing six in a row with a lower back sprain.
(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)