Pacers rip Hawks for 2-0 NBA playoff lead

Paul George scored a career playoff high 27 points to spark Indiana over Atlanta 113-98, giving the Pacers a 2-0 lead in their best-of-seven opening-round series.

Indiana could complete a sweep of the Eastern Conference matchup with victories at Atlanta on Saturday and Monday.

"We've got to go for the kill in game three," Pacers coach Frank Vogel said.

George Hill added 22 points for the Pacers Wednesday while George, who was voted the NBA's Most Improved Player this season, hit 11-of-21 from the field to lead Indiana scorers and also added eight rebounds and four steals.

"When Paul has it going like he did he's a nightmare for any team," Vogel said. "When he is going like that he's pretty tough to stop. Paul was the star of the game. To do what he did, just a heck of a performance."

George praised Indiana's reserves, who contributed 38 points off the bench in the victory. Gerald Green came off the bench with 15 points while Roy Hibbert added 15 points, nine rebounds and three blocked shots.

"Our bench is huge for us," George said. "When our starters aren't playing like we need to we have guys come off to give us a huge boost. Our bench is just as important as our starting five."

Vogel was proud that a young side handled Atlanta's pressure defensive work.

"They were trying to force us into turnovers, take away our space, and we had fewer turnovers than we did in game one. I'm proud of that," Vogel said.

"We're a young team, but not a rookie young team. We've got a lot of guys coming into their own."

George said the Pacers have to sustain their own physical defense.

"We have just got to continue to be physical," George said. "We're doing a good job of crowding them and just forcing them to make tough shots."

Atlanta was led by 17 points from Devin Harris and 16 points each from Josh Smith and Jeff Teague. Al Horford added 13 points and 10 rebounds in the loss.

"We've played well in stretches but in the playoffs you have to be able to sustain and we've not be able to do that so far," Hawks coach Larry Drew said.

"For three quarters the tempo was where we wanted but then we made too many mistakes. The margin for error against a team like this is very small."

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