ATLANTA — The Indiana Pacers had every chance to fold under another barrage of 3-pointers from the Atlanta Hawks.
Instead, the Pacers answered and evened a series that has been much closer than many expected.
Indiana guard Paul George scored 24 points and point guard George Hill had his best game of the series in a 91-88 victory over the Hawks on Saturday at Philips Arena.
The first-round playoff series is tied, 2-2, and heads back to Indiana for Game 5 on Monday.
Hill, like the rest of the Pacers, has struggled in the series, but scored 15 points, including the last basket of the game on a driving layup that put Indiana up three with 56 seconds to play.
The Hawks hit 11 3-pointers, but needed one more and failed to convert on their last three possessions.
After George missed two free throws that would have sealed the victory with under seven seconds to play, Atlanta desperately tried to get sharpshooter Kyle Korver the ball on an inbounds play.
The Pacers denied him the ball, forcing Hawks center Pero Antic to throw up a contested 3-pointer. It clanged off the rim as time expired, and the Pacers celebrated at midcourt.
The game, played in front of a sold-out and raucous crowd at Philips Arena, was intense and went back and forth.
Atlanta point guard Jeff Teague hit a deep 3-pointer with 4:36 left in the fourth quarter that put the Hawks up, 83-78. Hill answered with a corner 3-pointer on the next possession.
George and forward David West hit back-to-back 3-pointers that helped the Pacers build a four-point lead with 1:32 to play. The Hawks did not make a field goal in the final four minutes of the game.
Atlanta forward Paul Millsap led the Hawks with 29 points, and Korver added 15.
The Hawks scored 11 straight points in the second quarter and led by as many as 10. They led, 58-52, at halftime.
The Pacers picked up the intensity in the third quarter, with the bench standing for a long stretch.
Point guard George Hill hit a 3-pointer from the wing to give the Pacers their first lead of the second half, 56-54.
The teams exchanged the lead seven times in the quarter, before George got loose on the baseline and threw down an alley-oop dunk that gave the Pacers a 66-65 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
NOTES: After shooting 66.7 percent from the floor and scoring 29 points in the first quarter, the Pacers connected on only 5-of-20 shots (25 percent) and scored only 13 points in the second quarter. … Atlanta tied a franchise playoff record by hitting 12 3-pointers in Game 3 and have made at least 10 3s in the first three games of the series. The Hawks made five 3-pointers in the first half Saturday. … Indiana G Lance Stephenson picked up his second foul only four minutes into the game and then received a technical foul for his reaction. … Hawks C Pero Antic was leading all rookies in the playoffs in scoring (4.7) and rebounding (4.3) entering Saturday’s game. … Game 4 was an announced sellout. … The Pacers were whistled for three shot-clock violations in the first half. … Indiana C Roy Hibbert, who made only three of his previous 28 field goal attempts, hit of his first three shots in the first half.
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