Paul George scored a playoff career-high 30 points and Roy Hibbert finally came up big to lead the Indiana Pacers past the Atlanta Hawks, 92-80 on Saturday night in Game 7.
Indiana staved off elimination for the second time in three days. It’s the first time since mid-March the Pacers’ regular starters have won back-to-back games.
Instead of becoming the sixth top seed to lose in the first round of the current 16-team playoff format, the Pacers will be back on their home floor Monday night against Washington in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
Kyle Korver scored 19 points and Jeff Teague had 16 for Atlanta, which won just 38 games in the regular season but proved to be a tough opponent for the Pacers…
Hibbert, who scored 20 points total in the first four games, had a series-high 13 points and seven rebounds. Lance Stephenson finished with 19 points, 14 rebounds and five assists, and George added 11 rebounds for his sixth double-double in the playoffs…
The Pacers finished with a 55-38 rebounding edge and with Hibbert clogging the way, the Hawks were forced to rely primarily on 3-pointers. Atlanta wound up just 11 of 44 from beyond the arc, most coming as it tried to dig out of a double-digit deficit.
– Associated Press
It nearly cost the Pacers the series earlier, but in the end, coach Frank Vogel’s faith in Roy Hibbert paid off. The maligned center gets eight points and three rebounds in the first quarter. That was huge, considering the Pacers were extraordinarily sloppy at that point. Hibbert finishes with13 points, seven rebounds and five blocked shots. The haters become lovers. He gets a standing ovation when he heads to the bench for a third-quarter breather.
The Hawks get little offensively from All-Star forward Paul Millsap, who finished with 15 points and was just 6-for-21 from the field. He was 0-for-9 in the first half when the Hawks looked like they might keep the game close. Millsap’s lack of production allowed the Pacers to clamp down on Atlanta’s Jeff Teague and Kyle Korver after both got off to hot starts. Teague’s driving dunk attempt on the final play of the first half is blocked by Indiana’s Ian Mahinmi and he’s barely a factor after that, scoring six second-half points.
Atlanta nearly pulled off the first-round upset because of its strong 3-point shooting and its ability to get to the line early and often. Both went missing on Saturday. The Hawks were just 11-for-44 from 3-point range and 13-for-16 from the line.
While Millsap was struggling, Pacers star forward Paul George is terrific, scoring a playoff career-high 30 points and grabbing 11 rebounds. Lance Stephenson has 19 points, 14 rebounds and five assists.
– Indianapolis Star