With a little more than 11 minutes remaining in the final period, George missed a jump shot and couldn't track down the offensive rebound. Shelvin Mack came up with the board and looked to push tempo during the exchange, leading Atlanta on a three-on-two fast-break opportunity. Well, it was a three-on-two until George timed his leap perfectly to swat Mack's lay-up attempt hard off the backboard, causing the ball to carom all the way out to midcourt off of two bounces. Replays showed George's elbow at rim-level when he smacked away the transition attempt.
George, one of the league's best two-way wings, finished with a game-high 23 points (on three-for-13 shooting, plus 17-for-18 from the line), 12 assists and 11 rebounds for his first career playoff triple-double.
The Indianapolis Star reported post-game reaction from George and Pacers coach Frank Vogel.
“I’ve said for this playoff run I’m leaving everything on the floor,” George said. “I know what is expected of me now. I want the pressure. I’ll do whatever it takes.”
“He was all over the place tonight, that’s who Paul George is,” Vogel said. “He doesn’t make the All-Star team because he’s averaging 28 (points) a game like (Kevin) Durant or Carmelo (Anthony), but because he’s one of the most complete players in the game.”
Indiana, the Eastern Conference's No. 3 seed, took a 1-0 series lead over Atlanta, the No. 6 seed. Game 2 is set for Wednesday.