paul george

Paul George made everything look easy Friday night.

Scoring, rebound, playing defense, even winning seems second-nature to the Pacers’ budding star these days.

George finished with 31 points, and David West added 20 points and 11 rebounds, helping Central Division-leading Indiana pull away from struggling Houston 105-95.

”My guys found me, so I just had to knock shots down,” George said. ”It felt good, it’s easy to start in a flow when you get some good looks early on and that was the case tonight.”

George has been the key figure in Indiana’s incredible turnaround. The Pacers (25-16) have rebounded from a sluggish start by going 15-5 over the last 20 games, pulling even in the win column with the New York Knicks in the Eastern Conference and winning 11 straight at home - their longest since winning 14 in a row in 2002-03.

Plus, George continued to make his case for being on the East’s All-Star roster by going 8-of-11 from the field and knocking down five 3-pointers in the first half, and then playing a second half in which he looked content to make all the right moves regardless of his scoring chances.

The result: George finished 11 of 19 from the field, 7 of 10 from 3-point range, had six rebounds, five steals, three assists and one block in a game the Pacers dictated almost from start to finish. It was George’s third 30-point game of the season…

While Omer Asik scored a career-high 22 points and finished with 11 rebounds, the Pacers held James Harden to 17 points on 5-of-19 shooting. Harden, who was defended most of the night by George, had a career-best streak of 22 straight games with 20 or more points end on the same night the NBA’s second-best scoring team finished 10 points below it average and shot just 41.0 percent from the field.

– Reported by Michael Marot of the Associated Press