3:00 PM ET, December 31, 2010
Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN
The rookie -- who had played in 10 games this season, including just three of the last 24 -- had a season-high 13 points and seven rebounds to help the slumping Pacers to an 95-86 victory over the Washington Wizards at Consceo Fieldhouse.
"I didn't have any idea that my number would be called that early in the game," said George, a first-round draft selection who had four points, five rebounds and two steals in a little more than nine minutes in the first half as Indiana took a 15-point lead.
"When I got in the game, my teammates helped me, urged me and got me going," he said.
George played just as extensively in the second, scoring nine points after halftime, and his defense and play in fast-break situations were an emotional lift in which the Pacers continually held off potential Washington rallies.
George's five steals were a season-high for the Pacers, who snapped a three-game losing streak with the victory. Indiana had lost seven of nine entering the game.
John Wall scored 25 for the Wizards, who are 0-16 on the road this season and 8-7 at home.
"It seems that at home we play with a lot more urgency and aggressiveness, and on the road, we seem to come out passive," Wizards coach Flip Saunders said. "I love the way our crowd gets us into the start of the game, but we just don't seem to come out with the same passion on the road.
"We've got to find a way to get a win on the road. Even if we're below average on the road, if we win a few games, we're right there for the eighth, ninth or 10th spot fighting for something," he said.
The Pacers took control of the game with a 20-4 run in the second quarter, getting eight points from T.J. Ford in a spurt that gave them a 45-26 lead. The Wizards shot 2-of-14 in the quarter. Washington drew within 83-72 early in the fourth quarter but got no closer until the final margin.
"The NBA is a season of runs," Granger said. "Teams that win seven, eight, nine in a row -- 10 out of 12, or something like that -- that's when teams separate themselves.
"We just haven't hit our stride yet. I think it's coming," he said.
The Wizards have lost 15 of 18 games but beat Indiana at home Wednesday, 104-90.
Wall, the No. 1 overall selection in the draft, scored 17 points in a dynamic third quarter to help the Wizards stay close, going 7 of 8 with four turnovers. He finished 10 of 15 from the field with three rebounds, four assists and a steal, but had six turnovers.
"It seems on the road, some of them we just give away," Wall said. "We've had our chances in a couple of games, but we just couldn't finish in the stretch. Tonight, I just wanted to get into a rhythm. It felt good early, but I don't like to shoot a lot.
"I like to get my teammates the ball to spread the offense," he said.
Ford scored nine points off the bench for the Pacers, who shot 55 percent in the first half and outrebounded the Wizards 26-15. Collison and Ford, the Pacers' point guards, combined for 27 points, 10 assists and committed just three turnovers.
"Their guards did a great job of getting the ball out," Wall said. "I know fast-break points were a big reason, in addition to our turnovers, that we let the game get away from us."
Washington shot 27.8 percent (10-of-36) from the field before the break, including 2-of-14 in the second quarter. Andray Blatche missed all six of his first-half shots for Washington.
"Paul gave us a big lift off the bench," Pacers forward Mike Dunleavy said.
George's fast-break dunk on a lob from Collison with 5:51 remaining pushed the Indiana lead back to 17 after Washington had trimmed it to 11.
"I am young; my body is in good shape," George said. "I must prepare my mind to be ready to play every game. A lot of confidence was built off this game tonight. I don't want to be too high or too low. I want to keep working and hopefully keep progressing."
Saunders returned to the team after missing Wednesday's victory over the Pacers to be with his mother, who is ill. ... The Pacers' 27 points off turnovers were a season high. ... Washington hasn't won in Indianapolis since the final game of the 2006-07 season.
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - DECEMBER 31: Mike Dunleavy #17 of the Indiana Pacers drives against the Washington Wizards on...(Photo by Ron Hoskins/NBAE via Getty Images)
Team Stat Comparison
|FGM-FGA||31-80 (.388)||38-78 (.487)|
|3PM-3PA||6-19 (.316)||5-19 (.263)|
|FTM-FTA||18-22 (.818)||14-18 (.778)|
|Fast Break Points||6||21|
|Fouls (Tech/Flagrant)||21 (0/0)||23 (0/0)|
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