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George powers Pacers past Lakers

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — All Indiana Pacers forward Paul George needed was one brilliant quarter to help put away the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday night.

George scored 12 of his team-high 20 points in the third quarter, more than double any other player, and led the Indiana Pacers to a 118-98 victory over the Lakers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. His offensive spark had a sellout crowd of 18,165 on its feet as the Pacers won an NBA-best 27th at home.

The highlight point: George put the Pacers up by 10 points, 71-61, when he stripped the ball from Lakers guard Kendall Marshall and then drove the length of the floor for a three-point play on a reverse layup. That basket was one of three straight for George and energized a 12-3 Pacers run.

But as much as the offense brought the cheers, it was a suffocating defense and dominating inside game that did the job for the Pacers (43-13). They are now 27-3 at home.

The 62 rebounds were just one short of the season-high total of 63 by Indiana in its previous game this season against the Lakers.

“Everybody has to come in and crash the boards,” said Lakers forward Wesley Johnson, who scored 15 points and had five rebounds. “We have to rebound.”

The Pacers held the Lakers to six baskets and two offensive rebounds in the difference-making third quarter.

“We do a great job of getting stops,” George said. “Once we go through that point during the game where we’re getting stop after stop, I think that kind of energizes us. We’re hungry for another one after that.”

“We came out the second half and played a lot better,” Indiana’s C.J. Watson said. “We turned up the defense a little and got some stops and got some easy buckets.”

It deflated the Lakers (19-38).

The Lakers were outscored 34-16 in the third quarter and out-rebounded, 13-9. They lost to the Pacers in Indianapolis for the first time since 2008.

“We didn’t move the ball,” Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni said. “When they turned the heat on, we just put our head down. We fell into it.”

Forward David West had a game-high 12 rebounds and 11 points for Indiana. Guard George Hill added 14 points and guard Lance Stephenson had 13. All five Pacers starters and two bench players reached double figures in scoring.

Guard Kent Bazemore scored a career-best 23 points for the Lakers in just his second start. He also had four rebounds and three steals. Forward Wesley Johnson scored 15.

“No individual milestone is more important than the team,” Bazemore said. “I just want to come in and give my all. But scoring that many points doesn’t mean anything.”

George, who this year became just the third All-Star Game starter in Pacers history, turned the third quarter into his own highlight video. In addition to scoring 12 points, he had three rebounds, two steals and a blocked shot. George’s offensive punch turned a three-point Pacers halftime edge into a 21-point margin.

George added a slam dunk, his fourth basket of the quarter, when he took a long pass from center Ian Mahinmi and slammed the ball home with one hand.

The Pacers outscored the Lakers 34-16 in the third quarter and forced seven Lakers turnovers. Hill and guard C.J. Watson of Indiana each had five points in the quarter.

“It was kind of similar to a lot of the games we’ve played this year. Feeling the game out in the first half and taking over in the second half,” Pacers coach Frank Vogel said.

NOTES: Pacers F Lavoy Allen and G/F Evan Turner, who were obtained Thursday in a trade with the Philadelphia 76ers, were activated for Tuesday’s game. Turner received an ovation when he made his Pacers debut in the first quarter. “Hopefully, this will be a little bit of a spark for our team and help springboard us forward,” Pacers coach Frank Vogel said. … The Pacers entered the game with an NBA-best 26 home wins, nearly triple that of the Lakers. … Pacers G Lance Stephenson’s four triple-doubles are one short of a single-season club record. … Among the Lakers not making the trip included G/F Nick Young, G Kobe Bryant and PG Steve Nash. Young scored 10 points Sunday vs. Brooklyn, but is now out again because he isn’t fully recovered from a fractured knee. … Tuesday’s start was just the second career NBA start for Lakers G Kent Bazemore.

Alan is an experienced writer of online betting and casino guides. He is one of the main editors of Basketballinsiders.

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