WASHINGTON — Paul George had a career playoff-high 39 points and added 12 rebounds to lead the Indiana Pacers back from a 19-point deficit and past the Washington Wizards 95-92 on Sunday night to move one victory away from returning to the Eastern Conference finals.
The Pacers lead the second-round series 3-1 and can close it out Tuesday night, hosting Game 5.
George played 46 minutes and scored 28 points after halftime Sunday, including making six of his franchise playoff-record-tying seven 3-pointers.
Roy Hibbert had 17 points and nine rebounds, continuing his recent surge after a poor-as-can-be start to the series. He helped Indiana overcome Washington’s 32-2 advantage in bench scoring.
That was thanks mainly to 30-somethings Al Harrington, Drew Gooden and Andre Miller, who combined for 28 points, 13 rebounds and six assists. Wizards coach Randy Wittman likes to call that trio of not-yet-retired, best-days-behind-them guys — Miller, 38; Harrington, 34; Gooden, 32 — the “AARP group,” but they momentarily turned the game Washington’s way with quite a second quarter and a key stretch of the fourth.
There even were chants of “An-dre Mil-ler!” when he made two free throws in the fourth quarter to make it 85-76. But George willed the Pacers back.
His 3 with 5 1/2 minutes left made it 85-79, and another 30 seconds later made it 85-82, giving him seven from beyond the arc, matching a mark held by Reggie Miller and Chuck Person.
John Wall (12 points, seven assists) gave Washington what turned out to be its last lead at 91-90 with about 2 minutes to go. George pushed Indiana back in front with two foul shots, and the Pacers then made a key defensive stand, forcing a shot-clock violation.
At the other end, Hibbert made a 12-foot turnaround hook shot with 1:02 remaining to put the Pacers up 94-91, the ball bouncing on the rim before dropping through. The 7-foot-2 All-Star center sprinted down the court, his arms spread apart and his smile as wide as can be.