NBA Playoffs: Results from Sunday's Game 1 matchups
INDIANAPOLIS — Paul George insisted a little rest and a new focus would make change everything for the Indiana Pacers.
His made sure that prediction came true Sunday.
Following the best season of his three-year career, George opened the playoffs by producing the first postseason triple double of his career — 23 points, 11 rebounds and 12 assists — and led the Pacers out of their late-season funk and past Atlanta 107-90 in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference first-round series.
Suddenly, all those problems ailing the Pacers have been forgotten.
"I know what the team will expect from me now," George said. "But, again, I like the pressure"
He can expect to be dealing with even more of it in the best-of-seven series.
There were plenty of questions after Indiana coach Frank Vogel gave four of his starters — George, George Hill, Roy Hibbert and David West — a three-day break this week. The move meant those four came into the opening game without playing a minute since last Sunday's loss at New York sealed Indiana's fate as the East's No. 3 seed.
While George went 3 of 13 from the field, he made his first 17 free throws tying Reggie Miller's single-game playoff mark for best percentage. George missed his 18th and final attempt with 2:35 to go. It was about the only thing that went wrong for the All-Star forward who had Indiana's first triple double in the playoffs since Mark Jackson on May 13, 1998 against New York.
Indiana also has a 1-0 lead for the first time since beating the New Jersey Nets 90-88 in 2006.
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