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George, Pacers rally past Pistons
Auburn Hills, MI (SportsNetwork.com) - Paul George scored 30 points and helped lead a monumental comeback for the Indiana Pacers, who outdueled the Detroit Pistons down the stretch to rally for a 112-104 overtime victory at the Palace of Auburn Hills.
The Pacers trailed by as many as 25 points in the first half and were down 60-41 at halftime, but caught fire in the third quarter and later dominated the extra period to earn their seventh win in eight meetings with the Pistons. George deposited 20 of his points over the final two quarters and overtime, while finishing with eight rebounds and seven assists.
Evan Turner aided the comeback with 20 points off the bench, with David West netting six of his 15 points in OT to help Indiana prevail.
Josh Smith recorded 23 points in the loss, the 12th in 15 games for the fading Pistons. Rodney Stuckey added 19 points and Greg Monroe had 17 along with a game-high 13 rebounds.
The Pacers remained well behind deep into the third quarter, but began gaining ground over the final three minutes of the frame. Indiana closed out the stanza on a 12-4 run, with George accounting for the last seven points, to enter the fourth down by a manageable 79-73 margin.
"He's done that all year," Pacers head coach Frank Vogel said of George. "He's just found certain times to go on individual runs, where they call being in the zone, right? The basket's big and everything's going in for him and he's being assertive. A big reason why we got back in the game."
Indiana kept on charging, taking its first advantage since the game's early stages when Turner's 3-point play made the score 86-85 with 6 1/2 minutes remaining in regulation. The lead changed three more times before entering the final minute of the fourth quarter knotted at 98-98.
Roy Hibbert buried a short jumper with 33.6 seconds left for a 100-98 Pacers' edge, but Smith finished a layup off a Brandon Jennings feed on the other end. Both George and Jennings then misfired on their teams' last possessions to bring on the extra session.
The Pistons, who had starting center Andre Drummond exit in the fourth quarter with a neck injury, then ran out of gas. Detroit made just 1-of-9 shots in OT, with Lance Stephenson all but sealing the game for Indiana with a driving layup that put the Pacers up 110-104 with 45.8 seconds remaining.
"Give credit to [Indiana], they didn't stop fighting," said Smith. "We competed tonight, but it was a little frustrating that we fell short with how well we played in the first half."
After grabbing a 29-20 lead after one quarter behind Smith's 14 points on 6- of-8 shooting, Detroit expanded their cushion with a strong second. The Pistons outscored Indiana by a 19-7 margin to build a commanding 48-27 advantage midway through the period, and the differential reached 25 points after Jonas Jerebko's putback had the Pacers in a 56-31 hole with 3:24 left in the half.
Drummond had four points in five minutes before departing ... Indiana finished with a 62-44 advantage on the glass, with Stephenson pulling down nine rebounds in addition to accumulating 13 points and six assists ... Andrew Bynum, playing only his second game since joining the Pacers on Feb. 1, had 15 points and nine rebounds in 20 minutes ... Jennings dished out 12 assists to go along with 10 points, but shot just 3-of-13 from the field.
03/16 00:05:37 ET