“Everyone was covering for each other,” Hill said. “Anytime you got all five guys on the same page helping each other you’re going to most likely come away with a win.”
Paul George had 27 points with 10 rebounds and the Indiana Pacers routed the visiting Atlanta Hawks 101-85 on Tuesday night, squaring their Eastern Conference opening-round playoff series at one-game apiece.
The eighth-seeded Hawks stunned the Pacers in Saturday’s 101-93 game one win. But the top seeds returned to the defensive form that had them atop the league standings for most of the season before a late slump.
“We brought toughness, we played with energy and the biggest difference is we were out there as one and had each others back,” George said. “We got back to playing some December-November-type Pacers basketball.”
Argentine Luis Scola netted 20 points off the bench, while George Hill had 15 for the Pacers, who dominated their guests, 53-33 in the second half for the lopsided victory.
The Pacers dropped the opener and surrendered home-court advantage after getting outscored 30-16 in the decisive third-quarter but they returned the favour on Tuesday. Trailing 52-48 at halftime, the Pacers outscored their guests, 31-13 in the pivotal frame with Hill hitting for 10 and George eight.
The Pacers head to Atlanta for the next two contests beginning with game 3 on Thursday night of the best-of-seven series, where they have won just twice at Philips Arena since December of 2006.
Paul Millsap topped Atlanta with 19 points and Jeff Teague had 14 but the duo combined for just six in the second half.
Washington Wizards 101, Chicago Bulls 99 (OT)
Bradley Beal scored 26 points, Brazil’s Nene netted six of his 17 in overtime and the visiting fifth-seeded Wizards beat the fourth-seeded Bulls to take a 2-0 lead in their Eastern Conference first-round playoff series.
Making their first post-season appearance in six years, the Wizards will host game 3 Friday night, with an opportunity to put a stranglehold on the best-of-seven series.
Toronto Raptors 100, Brooklyn Nets 95
DeMar DeRozan dropped in 17 of his 30 points in the final quarter, including six free throws in the final 20 seconds, and the third-seeded Raptors clipped the visiting sixth-seeded Nets to square their Eastern Conference opening-round playoff series at one-game apiece.
“That’s my job,” said DeRozan of his late heroics. “I have to show up and that’s what I did.”