Paul George scored 27 points, and the Indiana Pacers overcame a 16-point deficit to beat the Cleveland Cavaliers, 96-81, on Wednesday night.
David West had 18 points and nine rebounds and George Hill added 17 points for the Pacers, who snapped a two-game skid.
Indiana, third in the NBA in scoring defense and No. 1 in opponent field-goal percentage coming in, held the Cavaliers to 23 points on 8-for-41 shooting in the second half. It was Cleveland’s lowest-scoring half of the season.
The Cavaliers couldn’t build on Tuesday’s win over the Los Angeles Lakers. C.J. Miles scored 28 points for the second straight game, but Kyrie Irving was held to nine points on 4-for-12 shooting in his second game back after missing 11 with a broken finger.
George is averaging 24.4 points and 7.6 rebounds his past five games.
Perhaps the most excitement in the second half came when Cleveland’s Tristan Thompson hit Indiana’s Ben Hansbrough with an errant elbow early in the fourth quarter and big brother Tyler stepped in and angrily protected his younger brother. Thompson was issued a flagrant foul and Ben Hansbrough made one of two free throws to give the Pacers an 83-73 lead. The Pacers remained in control the rest of the way.
It was all Cleveland early. The Cavaliers took a 54-38 lead on a jumper by Samardo Samuels with 3:39 left in the first half. Indiana closed the half with a 14-4 run to close the gap to 58-52.
George hit a 3-pointer to cut the deficit to 58-57 in the first two minutes of the second half, then Hill made a reverse layup and was fouled. His free throw gave Indiana a 60-58 lead. The 3-point play gave the Pacers their first lead since it was 2-0.
A 3-pointer by Hill gave the Pacers a 73-66 lead and the Cavaliers called a timeout. A putback by West in the closing seconds of the third quarter gave Indiana an 80-70 lead heading to the fourth.