Friday, December 14, 7:00 PM (EST) at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN
Conrad Brunner, for NBA.com
THE FACTS: Paul George's offense has been generating headlines but his defense played just as big a role in beating the Sixers. The third-year forward blocked Spencer Hawes' layup in the final minute as Indiana (12-11) held off Philadelphia 95-85 Friday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. George scored 28 points, topping 20 for the fifth time in the last six games, including a 3-pointer that put Indiana ahead 89-83 with 2:01 remaining. After George's block of Hawes, George Hill drove the lane and fed Roy Hibbert for a clinching dunk.
Hill had his first career triple-double with 15 points, 10 assists and 10 rebounds while Hibbert had 19 points and 14 rebounds. Evan Turner led Philadelphia (12-11) with 22 points, 10 rebounds and five assists. The Sixers played without leading scorer Jrue Holiday, out with a sprained left foot.
QUOTABLE: "Paul's been playing this way for a couple of weeks now and it's exciting to see. He is an exceptional defensive player, there's no other way to put it. He's going to be on the all-defensive team this year and for years to tome. That and the fact he can score in a variety of ways is giving us a big lift."
-- Indiana coach Frank Vogel on George.
THE STAT: George has averaged 25.0 points, 7.3 rebounds and 3.5 assists in the last six games, shooting .514 from the field (54 of 105) and .571 from the 3-point line (20 of 35).
TURNING POINT: Philadelphia closed the half on a 10-2 run -- including six points in the final 3.8 seconds -- and led 46-42 early in the third quarter before George took over, scoring 12 points in a 21-7 run that put Indiana ahead 63-53. The Sixers got no closer than three the rest of the way.
QUOTABLE II: "We're going to err on the side of caution. I don't want him out there playing on one foot. ... I hope it's only going to be a few days."
-- Sixers coach Doug Collins on Holiday's absence.
HOT: George hit 5 of 7 from the 3-point line and also had three blocked shots. ... Hibbert shot 9 of 16 to emerge from a season-long shooting funk. ... Turner hit 9 of 16 for the Sixers, including both of his 3-point attempts, while Hawes was 8 of 15 off the bench and scored 18.
NOT: David West had a rare off night for Indiana, hitting just 5 of 17 shots. Indiana's reserves totaled just 12 points. Philadelphia wings Jason Richardson (1 of 6) and Nick Young (4 of 14) combined to hit 5 of 20 shots.
GOOD MOVE: After Damien Wilkins made a pair of free throws to cut Indiana's lead to 42-40 with 3.8 seconds left in the first half, Collins surprised Indiana with a full-court press. West's inbounds pass deflected off the backboard and wound up in Turner's hands for a layup with one second left. On the next inbounds play, West overthrew a long lead pass out of bounds, giving the ball back to Philadelphia. Hawes hit a baseline fadeaway just before the buzzer to put the Sixers up 46-42.
BAD MOVE: Turner had carried Philadelphia's offense for much of the night but did not get a shot on the Sixers' final three possessions.
NOTABLE: This was Hibbert's seventh double-double of the season, tying West for team-high... Hibbert's streak of 16 consecutive multi-block games came to an end. ... Indiana is 4-8 against teams at .500 or better. ... With Royal Ivey (strep throat) also out, Turner moved to the point, with Nick Young starting at small forward and Kwame Brown at center. ... Brown was moved ahead of Lavoy Allen because the Sixers face a stretch of games against bigger, more physical centers. ... The Pacers were without shooting guard Lance Stephenson, who sustained a sprained left ankle Wednesday against Cleveland. Gerald Green started in his place. Vogel said Stephenson could return as soon as Saturday's game in Detroit.