George scores 27 to lead Pacers past Magic 97-84
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) Paul George looks like he's back to his old self.
The All-Star forward made a pivotal go-ahead basket late and finished with 27 points to lead the Indiana Pacers to a 97-84 victory over the Orlando Magic on Monday night.
''I feel great skill wise,'' George said. ''I feel like I've had a whole year to work on my game.''
That's because he practically has.
George scored more than 20 points for the fourth straight game and looks good as new after missing most of last season trying to bounce back from a horrific broken leg.
His 3-pointer from 27-feet with 5:51 remaining gave the Pacers an 83-81 lead. Indiana used a 19-3 fourth-quarter run to take the lead and pull away for its fourth win in five games.
''I think one thing you've got to do on this team is have constant movement,'' George said. ''I got moving, was able to cut and take advantage of their aggressive defense.''
After George's make, Chase Budinger made a 3 and George Hill drove to the basket to make it 88-81. Hill finished with 23 points and seven rebounds.
Evan Fournier had 21 points and Victor Oladipo added 15 points and seven rebounds for the Magic.
''If we can get stops, we're going to get easy buckets on the offensive end,'' Hill said. ''I think we fuel off our defense. When our defense is struggling, our offense struggles. In the five years I've been here, when our defense is settled and all clicking on the right page, our offense is clicking also.''
Things were in sync by the fourth quarter.
Orlando had 21 turnovers, including seven during Indiana's big run that ended with a 3-pointer and a pair of free throws by Hill to make it 97-84.
''They played better defense,'' Fournier said. ''You could see the momentum change. When they have it, they make their shots, they get all the 50-50 balls. That's how you close out games.''
The Pacers, who won five straight against the Magic, are playing better after starting the year with three straight losses, but still have some things to clean up.
They turned the ball over 18 times, and the Magic scored 34 points off the errors.
And the Pacers couldn't find a way to pull away until the end.
George scored 19 of his 27 points in the opening quarter and scored nine of Indiana's first 11 points to start the game. George made a short jumper to give Indiana an 11-5 lead.
''I expected the rest of the game to be a little different,'' George said. ''They applied some pressure. I tried to get other guys some looks and it opened the game up.''
He was scoreless in the second quarter, scored three in the third, and five in the final quarter.
Oladipo, who played three seasons at nearby Indiana University, received a warm welcome during player introductions. He received more cheers when he made a 3-pointer at the start of the game for Orlando's first points and again after a dunk to give the Magic its first lead, 18-17, late in the first quarter.
Magic: Channing Frye made four 3s and finished with 14 points and eight rebounds. ... Center Nikola Vucevic, one of four Orlando players averaging more than 15 points a game, was inactive for the third straight game with a bone bruise on his right knee.
Pacers: Myles Turner had 10 points. ... Forward C.J. Miles started against the Magic in his first game back after missing three straight with a sore right ankle. He finished with nine points.
Magic: Host the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday night.
Pacers: Travel to Boston on Wednesday night.