INDIANAPOLIS – Paul George is starting to make the New Jersey Nets cringe whenever they play the Indiana Pacers.
George scored a career-high 24 points to lead the Pacers to a 106-99 win over the Nets on Tuesday night.
And it’s not the first time George has spoiled things for the Nets. George, who shot 8 of 11 in this one, scored 21 points to lead the Pacers to a 108-94 win against the Nets on Jan. 2.
“I just want to be effective on both sides of the ball and help this team win,” George said. “We picked up the defensive effort and just turned it up.”
Danny Granger had 21 points and seven rebounds and Roy Hibbert had 18 points and 14 rebounds, his ninth double-double of the year.
Deron Williams scored 34 points for the Nets, who have lost two straight overall and nine straight against the Pacers.
Indiana went on a 12-0 run midway through the third quarter and eventually led by as much as 18 in the fourth.
The Nets turned the ball over three times and missed three shots in the Pacers’ big run and shot just 40 per cent overall in the third.
For Pacers coach Frank Vogel, it was just a perfect example of the smash-mouth basketball he has always been striving for.
“We continue to grow our identity,” said Vogel, who was impressed with George. “Paul George really carried us through some offensive stretches. He’s a heck of a weapon at both ends.”
George capped the biggest lead of the third quarter with a reverse dunk off Lou Amundson’s steal to give the Pacers an 84-72 lead at the end of the third quarter.
With the game tied at 66, George hit a 3-pointer and Granger went to the line to give the Pacers a 71-66 lead. Granger and George combined to score nine of the 12 points in the run.
But the Nets made a run back at the Pacers late in the fourth quarter and even got within three after a 15-2 run in which Anthony Morrow scored 11 of his 28 points.
“Our team got down 12 or 14 points, but we kept battling and then we got within striking distance,” Nets coach Avery Johnson said. “Unfortunately, the ball just popped out on us.”
Johnson was also unhappy with the Nets’ 19 turnovers, which the Pacers turned into 30 points, a season best for the Pacers.
Things started out shaky for Indiana as the Pacers turned the ball over on four of their first five trips down the floor. The only points came from George on a 3-pointer.
The Pacers turned the ball over again on the next trip down the floor, but then Collison scored on a long jumper to cut the lead to 10-5 and spark a 10-0 run to give the Pacers the lead. George hit another 3-pointer, Granger scored and Collison scored on a three-point play to give the Pacers a 13-10 lead.
The Nets played without MarShon Brooks, who broke his right, little toe and didn’t play Tuesday. Brooks, who is averaging 14.8 points, missed the three previous games because of a sore Achilles.
Mehmet Okur missed his third straight game because of a sore lower back. DeShawn Stevenson didn’t play because of a sore right knee.
Pacers guard George Hill left the game with 1:35 left in the third quarter and didn’t return after he came down on a foot.
Vogel said Hill has a small chip-fracture on his left ankle and will be out indefinitely.
“I’ll work with the training staff and try to get back out on the court as soon as possible,” Hill said.
Notes: Pacers C Jeff Foster is day-to-day with a sore lower back, but Vogel expects him out the remainder of the week. … Pacers C Roy Hibbert had his broken nose set Monday morning. “He’s going to look a little cuter,” Vogel said. “I don’t know that it’s anything more than that.” … Nets C Brook Lopez is out with a broken right foot, while F Damian James is sidelined after undergoing right foot surgery.