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Indiana Pacers center Roy Hibbert, front left, tries to block the shot of Atlanta Hawks forward Paul Millsap during Game 7 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series in Indianapolis, Saturday, May 3, 2014. (AP Photo/AJ Mast)
NBA Playoffs: Pacers top Hawks for Game 7 victory
Eastern Conference » Top-seeded Indiana moves to 2nd round.
First Published May 03 2014 06:45 pm • Last Updated May 03 2014 11:55 pm

Indianapolis • Indiana salvaged its season Saturday by reverting to form: its first-half form.

Paul George scored a career playoff-high 30 points, Lance Stephenson added 19 and Roy Hibbert finally came up big against the more nimble Atlanta Hawks as the Pacers survived a first-round scare with a 92-80 victory in the decisive seventh game.

Playoff schedule

Saturday

Indiana 92, Atlanta 80,

(Pacers win series 4-3)

Oklahoma City 120, Memphis 109 (Thunder win series 4-3)

Golden State at L.A. Clippers, late

Sunday

Brooklyn at Toronto, 11 a.m., Ch. 4 (series tied 3-3)

Dallas at San Antonio, 1:30 p.m., Ch. 4 (series tied 3-3)

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Two days after staving off elimination in Atlanta, the top-seeded Pacers did it again and advanced to a second-round series against Washington that starts Monday in Indiana.

"We know what we want to get to and we know what our journey is," George said.

Though they have a quick turnaround, at least the Pacers get a brief respite from the problems and distractions that lingered during the series.

Indiana, the NBA’s best home team during the regular season, twice gave away home-court advantage by losing Games 1 and 5. Those losses sparked public debate about what needed to change in the offseason and whether coach Frank Vogel would even return if the Pacers became the sixth No. 1 seed to lose in the first round since the league went to its current 16-team playoff format.

Atlanta’s spread offense and 3-point shooters had Indiana’s normally stout defense scrambling for answers after the Hawks took a 3-2 lead Monday night.

Hibbert, an All-Star center, was a non-factor with just 20 points in the first six games combined.

George spent the week dealing with a burglary at his home and the possibility of a Game 7 suspension.

None of it mattered Saturday.


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George sparked the two biggest runs of the game, finished 11 of 23 from the field and grabbed 11 rebounds for a league-leading sixth double-double in the playoffs.

Stephenson added nine rebounds and five assists, and wiggled his hips after a game-clinching dunk with 80 seconds to go. Hibbert awoke from his recent slumber with 13 points, seven rebounds and five blocks.

Indiana’s regular starters won back-to-back games for the first time since mid-March, rallying from a 3-2 deficit to win a series for the first time in franchise history.



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