Paul George, Pacers use strong 4th quarter to turn back Cavs
December 31, 2013 (AP) – Paul George scored 21 points, Roy Hibbert added 19 and the Indiana Pacers used a dominant fourth quarter to blow out the Cleveland Cavaliers 91-76 on Tuesday.
The Pacers (25-5) have won eight in a row over Cleveland, their longest active streak against any opponent. They limited the Cavs to 3-of-16 shooting and forced seven turnovers in the final period to turn a close game into yet another victory.
Cleveland (10-21) dropped its sixth straight despite getting 14 points and 11 rebounds from Anderson Varejao. Point guard Kyrie Irving was limited to 10 points, five rebounds and five assists. Irving briefly went to the locker room in the third quarter with a left knee injury.
The Cavs shot 36.2 percent from the field and committed 15 turnovers.
George Hill had 13 points and six rebounds for the Pacers, who have won five in a row and sent the Cavs to their eighth straight defeat in Indianapolis. Indiana outscored the Cavs in the fourth quarter 26-10.
The Cavaliers went ahead 17-9 on Earl Clark’s midrange shot with 4:22 left in the first quarter. But the Pacers’ reserves dominated their Cleveland counterparts in a 10-3 surge that put Indiana ahead 35-34 on Danny Granger’s finger-roll with 4:57 left in the half.
Granger matched a season-high with 12 points, including eight in the second quarter when the benches were matched against one another.
Hibbert’s jumper with 3:22 left in the half gave the Pacers a 39-37 edge, before the Cavaliers settled down and rallied. Dion Waiters’ driving layup with 26 seconds to play gave Cleveland a 44-41 halftime lead. There were four ties and seven lead changes before the break.
George hit a 3 to tie the game at 63 late in the third. Indiana made 11 of 21 shots in the period but trailed 66-65 entering the fourth. To that point there were eight ties and 15 lead changes. The tenor of the game changed drastically from there.
The Pacers put together a 15-6 run to take an 80-72 lead on Hill’s layup with just under 7 minutes left in the game. Cleveland never got closer than six the rest of the way. George’s emphatic dunk put Indiana ahead 91-74 with 2:41 to play.
*Photo courtesy of Ron Hoskins/NBAE via Getty Images