NBA PLAYOFFS ROUNDUP: Pacers take 2-0 series lead against Hawks

Pacers guard Gerald Green dunks on Hawks forward Josh Smith during Wednesday's Game 2 of their first-round playoff series, which Indiana won, 107-90.

Pacers guard Gerald Green dunks on Hawks forward Josh Smith during Wednesday's Game 2 of their first-round playoff series, which Indiana won, 107-90.

INDIANAPOLIS --- Paul George had 27 points to help the Indiana Pacers defeat the Atlanta Hawks 113-98 on Wednesday night and take a 2-0 lead in their first-round Eastern Conference playoff series.

George, who had been named the NBA's most improved player on Tuesday, was coming off a triple-double with 23 points, 12 assists and 11 rebounds in Game 1 on Sunday.

He had plenty of help in Game 2. George Hill scored 22 points, Roy Hibbert had 15 points and nine rebounds and reserve Gerald Green added 15 points for the Pacers.

Devin Harris scored 17 points and Jeff Teague added 16 for the Hawks. Josh Smith scored 16 points, but he only played 20 minutes because of foul trouble.

The Pacers have won all 10 NBA playoff series in which they have taken a 2-0 lead, including five sweeps. Game 3 will be played Saturday in Atlanta.

The game followed a similar script to Game 1: Atlanta shot well but was outrebounded and outscored by a large margin at the free-throw line.

Pacers guard Lance Stephenson bruised his right hip in the first quarter and went to the locker room. He returned in the third quarter, and his basket early in the period gave Indiana a 71-57 lead.

Atlanta gained some momentum and cut Indiana's lead to eight midway through the quarter, but Jeff Pendergraph made a jumper as the shot clock expired, then George made a layup to put the Pacers up 12 with 4:10 left in the third quarter.

The Pacers closed the quarter in style. With 1.2 seconds left, David West launched a full-court pass that Green caught and dunked before the buzzer to give Indiana an 88-76 lead at the end of the period, and Indiana maintained control from there.

The Pacers led 25-19 at the end of the first quarter. Green hit a 3-pointer to give the Pacers a 43-34 lead with about seven minutes left in the first half, but Atlanta hung tough. A 3-pointer by Kyle Korver cut the Hawks' deficit to 45-40.

Indiana's D.J. Augustin hit back-to-back 3-pointers to extend Indiana's lead to 57-46 late in the second quarter, and the Pacers led 59-50 at halftime.

OKC blows big lead but holds on late vs. Rockets

OKLAHOMA CITY - Despite 36 points, 11 rebounds and six assists from James Harden, the Houston Rockets fell to the Oklahoma City Thunder 105-102 Wednesday in Game 2 of their first-round series at the Chesapeake Energy Arena.

Kevin Durant led the Thunder with 29 points on 10-for-25 shooting to go along with nine assists. Russell Westbrook also scored 29 points despite playing on a gimpy knee.

The Thunder lead the best-of-seven series 2-0.

After winning the opener in a blowout, the Thunder (2-0) expected a better effort from the Rockets (0-2), and they got it.

Oklahoma City built a 15-point fourth-quarter lead with eight minutes left in the game. But the Rockets went on a 21-2 run to take a 95-91 lead.

The Thunder looked like they were worn out and out of sync. But Durant wasn’t done. He drained a 3-pointer to give Oklahoma City a 98-97 advantage. Houston’s Chandler Parsons missed a 3-pointer and the Thunder got the rebound. Durant got the ball at the top of the key and drove into the middle of the lane and the Rockets converge on him. Instead of forcing up a shot, he passed out to a wide-open Thabo Sefolosha, who knocked down the 3-pointer with 1:01 on the clock.

Harden hit one of two at the line to close gap to three points. But Serge Ibaka hit a long jumper to push the leadd back to five. Oklahoma City fouled Harden again, and he made a pair from the charity stripe with 14 seconds left.

With the Thunder leading 103-100 Kevin Martin went to the line and he hit one of two free throws with 11 second left. Houston used up the rest of the time to get a layup. But it wasn’t enough as Oklahoma City held on for the win.

Ibaka scored 12 points to go with six blocked shots and 11 rebounds. Martin came off the bench to add 10 points and was 3-for-7 from behind the arc.

Parsons scored 17 points while rookie Patrick Beverley added 16 points and 12 rebounds in his first start. He also had six assists and two steals.

Houston coach Kevin McHale said over and over he wanted Houston to take more charges against Thunder. His team got the hint with two in a one-minute span in the first quarter. This contributed to Westbrook picking up two quick fouls and riding the bench form most of the quarter.

After a subpar Game 1, Parsons came out firing. The Thunder left him open on the perimeter, and he made them pay with a couple of early 3-pointers.

The game got heated midway through the second quarter when Westbrook banged knees with Beverley and had to be helped off the court. Westbrook and Francisco Garcia exchanged words when he came back into the game and had to be led away from the Rockets bench.

Westbrook continued to go after Beverley on both ends of the court. But the rookie didn’t back down. Westbrook picked up his third foul when he was called for throwing an elbow at Beverley.

However, the Rockets had no answer for Durant. His 21 points in the first half tied for the most first-half points in any playoff game in his career.

Despite the Thunder shooting 50 percent from the field, Houston stayed close by dominating on the boards in the first half with a 26-18 advantage. Beverley had six boards while Oklahoma City’s Kendrick Perkins and Ibaka combined for six total.

Oklahoma City only led 57-55 at halftime.

Jeremy Lin had a strong first half for the Rockets with seven points, four rebounds and three assists. But a right chest contusion kept him from playing in second half.

Houston took a 63-61 advantage before the Thunder went on a 14-0 run with Westbrook leading the charge.

But once again, the Rockets closed the gap and trailed 78-72 heading into the fourth quarter.


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