Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 12/14/12
INDIANAPOLIS -- Paul George is proving he can carry the Indiana Pacers in Danny Granger's absence. George continued his hot scoring spree by pouring in 28 points in the Pacers' 95-85 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Friday. George has scored at least 17 points in each of the past six games. The Pacers are without Granger (knee) until at least February. "Paul has been playing this way a couple of weeks now," Pacers coach Frank Vogel said. "For a team struggling offensively, to have a guy step up the way he stepped up is big. He's making shots now." Evan Turner had 22 points for Philadelphia, which played without Jrue Holiday. George Hill added 15 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds for the Pacers. "I earned a lot of respect for George Hill and Paul George," Turner said. "It was tough going back and forth from Hill to George. They ran a lot of ball screens." George got it going in the third quarter when the Pacers needed an offensive spark. He scored 14 points in the quarter to help the Pacers go up by as many as 10 points. He had one stretch in which he scored eight straight points. His fast-break dunk minutes later pushed the Pacers' lead up to 63-53. "I felt like we really needed to up the tempo, so I took it upon myself to try to get the team going," George said. "We wanted to try to run them, try to find guys and be confident shooting the ball." The 76ers went from scoring six points in the final 3.8 seconds of the first half to only scoring six points in the first 6:09 of the third quarter. The Pacers led by four with 5.1 seconds remaining in the second quarter, but walked off the court trailing by two points at halftime. The Sixers' late second-quarter spurt started then George fouled Damian Wilkins in the backcourt, and Wilkins made both free throws. Then David West committed a turnover on the inbounds play, and Turner quickly scored underneath to tie the game. The Pacers (12-11) weren't done turning the ball over. West uncharacteristically committed another turnover when he tried to throw a home-run ball from out of the bounds. Nobody touched the ball, which meant the 76ers got it underneath their basket with a second left. Spencer Hawes managed to catch the pass and knocked down a 20-foot jumper as time expired to give Philadelphia a 44-42 lead at halftime. The 76ers (12-11) didn't back down despite being down by 10 points in the third quarter. All it took was a technical from Turner to get him going. He was given a technical for arguing a double-dribble violation, and Turner took his frustration out on the Pacers. He made two straight jumpers, including a 3-pointer, to get Philadelphia within three, 86-83. "Evan Turner is an incredible competitor," 76ers coach Doug Collins said. "That guy, he fights every single second on the floor and we had him guarding George Hill, he had to guard Paul George. He got 10 rebounds for us, handled the ball the entire night." But then George bailed the Pacers out. He canned a 3-pointer in the right corner, but had to leave the game momentarily with cramps. He returned and blocked Hawes' layup attempt. The Pacers wrapped the game up with a Roy Hibbert dunk off a feed from Hill, followed by a Hill 3-pointer to give them a 94-85 lead with 36.2 seconds left. "With the Eastern Conference, anything can happen," Hill said. "It's about taking care of one game at a time, step by step." NOTES: The 76ers were without point guard Holiday, the team's leading scorer, because of a sprained right foot. Collins said they're holding Holiday out so his foot does not get worse. Turner slid over from shooting guard and started at point guard...Pacers starting shooting guard Lance Stephenson missed the game with a sprained right ankle. Vogel said there's a chance Stephenson could play in Saturday's game at Detroit. Gerald Green, who has struggled shooting the ball all season, started at shooting guard...Pacers rookie Miles Plumlee will play two games with the Ft. Wayne Mad Ants, the team's D-League affiliate this weekend. Fellow rookie Orlando Johnson was supposed to join him there until Stephenson's ankle injury caused the Pacers to keep him.
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