Paul George’s epic scoring run continued tonight as the All-Star forward scored 37 points to lead the Pacers (40-40) to a 127-112 throttling of the Orlando Magic (28-52) on Saturday night at the Amway Center. The Pacers are now winners of three straight and are currently in sole possession of seventh place in the Eastern Conference.
Through the first four games of April, George is averaging 34.5 points, 9.0 rebounds and 4.8 assists per game.
“He’s in a good rhythm and I think he’s taking good shots,” Pacers head coach Nate McMillan said of George. “When they’re giving him single coverage we’re doing a good job of screening and freeing him up, and when they’re trapping him he’s getting rid of the ball. He’s in just a really good rhythm.”
Coming out of halftime, George scored the second half’s first five points to give the Pacers a 73-59 lead. The Magic made it interesting though, despite being out of playoff contention.
Orlando went on a 16-7 run to get back with five, 80-75, with 5:26 to go in the third.
But the Pacers fired back, outscoring Orlando 19-7 the rest of the third, highlighted by back-to-back jump shots from Lance Stephenson to end the quarter, to lead 99-82.
“We knew eventually that they were going to cool down a little bit and the pace that we were going offensively, there was going to be separation tonight,” George said.
The Pacers continued to pile on in the fourth. A George jumper gave Indiana a 20-point lead with 10:41 remaining. Orlando got within 12, 120-108, with just under three minutes to go, but Myles Turner delivered the final blow, hitting a jumper to give the Pacers a 14-point lead, effectively shutting the door at the 2:31 mark.
“We’re starting to go in the right direction,” Paul George said. “Bigger picture, we did what we were supposed to tonight. We handled our business, and keep our hopes alive.”
Indiana was down early as Orlando’s Terrence Ross came out of the gate red-hot. Ross made three 3-pointers to give the home team a 9-2 lead. The Pacers responded with eight straight points to take a 10-9 lead at the 8:45 mark.
A highly-competitive period would ensue. With 5:39 left in the first, the teams were tied at 21. Neither team led by more than four the rest of first.
The Pacers got a late quarter boost from Lavoy Allen, as he came off the bench to score seven points in the quarter to propel Indiana to a 39-38 advantage heading into the second.
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Behind five early second quarter points from George, Indiana extended its lead to 46-41 with 9:40 to play in the half.
Indiana led 51-44 before the Magic reeled off five straight to get back within two with 6:50 left in the period. But the Pacers were able to hold onto their lead, eventually growing it back to seven, 62-55, with a little under three minutes until halftime.
The third quarter belonged to Indiana, as it outscored Orlando 31-23 to seize control of the game en route to its third victory in a row.
In addition to George, Turner finished with 23 points and 10 rebounds. Thad Young had another strong night, contributing 14 points. C.J. Miles and Kevin Seraphin each scored 11 off the bench.
For Orlando, Ross scored 29, and Evan Fournier ended with 23 points.
Inside The Numbers
The Pacers outrebounded the Magic 45-33.
Indiana’s bench outscored Orlando’s 37-25.
The Pacers had 35 assists, led by Jeff Teague’s 13, to Orlando’s 29.
You Can Quote Me On That
“I think everything that we’ve been trying to go towards to start the season off, we’re finally getting to. It just took a full year for us to realize what we needed to do to win and then the extra help with Lance (Stephenson).” – Pacers forward Paul George
“It was a layup show, I mean it was layups after layups, we didn’t protect the paint at all. I think we weren’t aggressive enough on the ball and too many blow-byes, it was just a bad game defensively overall.” – Magic guard Evan Fournier
“We moved the ball, we got ourselves into a good flow on offense, and we were able to overcome some of the things that they were doing.” – Pacers forward Thaddeus Young
“There’s a lot of areas where we didn’t do a good job defending, either the paint or getting down out to the 3-point shooters and then Paul George just had a hell of a game, that’s the type of player he is.” – Magic Nikola Vucevic
Stat of the Night
Paul George continued to play like the superstar he is, finishing with 37 points, seven rebounds and six assists. George was 14-of-22 from the floor, including 4-of-9 from beyond the arc. He made five of his seven free throw attempts.
- Indiana’s 68 first half points were a season high.
- The Pacers have now won their last six games in Orlando.
- Myles Turner earned his 13th double-double of the season.
The Pacers head to Philadelphia to take on the 76ers on Monday night. Tip off is set for 7:00 PM ET.
The Pacers will host the Atlanta Hawks for Fan Appreciation Night on Wednesday, April 12 at 8:00 PM ET. Find Tickets »