Indianapolis (TSN) – The Indiana Pacers were on the cusp of their third straight blowout defeat and a nearly insurmountable climb to earn the Eastern Conference’s second seed.
But then they woke up.
And in a hurry.Paul George’s go-ahead 3-pointer with 29 seconds left lifted the Pacers to a 99-94 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Indiana trailed by 20 points early in the fourth, but a 17-0 run in the frame got the Pacers back in it. A bit later, George Hill’s three-point play in transition following a Lance Stephenson steal gave them their first lead of the second half, 93-92, with 46.5 seconds left.
Kyrie Irving hit two free throws to put Cleveland back on top, but Hill drove and found a George wide open in the left corner at the other end and he buried the 3-pointer to make it 96-94.
Irving was called for a charge on the Cavs’ next touch and Jeff Pendergraph split a pair of free throws to keep it a one-possession game. But Wayne Ellington missed a right wing triple and George calmly sunk two free throws with six ticks remaining to seal the victory.
Indiana outscored Cleveland 35-10 in the final frame.
Hill finished with 29 points to lead the Pacers, who are 2 1/2 games behind the red-hot New York Knicks for the No. 2 seed in the East.
Kyrie Irving registered 29 points and seven assists for Cleveland, which has dropped 13 of its last 14 meetings against Indiana.
Indiana led 29-26 after a quarter, but Cleveland outscored the Pacers 27-19 in the second to take a 53-48 advantage into the break.
The Cavs closed the third on a 13-3 burst to vault them to an 84-64 cushion heading into the fourth.
It was 88-68 in favor of Cleveland with 9:04 to play before Indiana rattled off 17 straight points over the next 4:40 to pull within 88-85 with 4:24 remaining.
Cleveland had won back-to-back games coming in on the heels of a 10-game slide … David West recorded 15 points and nine rebounds for the Pacers … Indiana had a 33-7 edge in fastbreak points.