The Indiana Pacers were able to do what I saw them doing from the beginning, and will now head back to Indianapolis up 3-1. These past two wins have been quite impressive, holding the Washington Wizards to 63 points in Game 3 and coming back from a 19-point deficit in Game 4. These two wins are in large part to team leader Paul George, who has played absolutely incredibly of late.
I have never seen a more impressive individual effort than what George was able to do. If it was questioned at all, it should now be put to rest that he is a star in this league. George not only scored 39 points, grabbed 12 rebounds and hit seven 3-pointers; he played 46 of the 48 minutes, including the entire second half.
You could see the exhaustion on his face down the stretch, but the way he was able to bring his team back was nothing more than impressive.
The Pacers do have an issue going forward even though they are one win away from a back-to-back trip to the Eastern Conference finals. As a team, the Pacers scored 95 points, and the starters scored 93 of those. The only bench points came from a mid-range jumper from C.J. Watson. The four bench players who saw minutes combined for 1-of-9 from the field and 0-of-2 from the free throw line, and this needs to improve if they want to continue to keep this strong play going.
The Pacers have quieted their critics for now and are only one win away from advancing past the Wizards. Roy Hibbert has played three straight good games, the defensive has mostly been good and George is one of the best players in the NBA right now. If they can take Game 5 on their home court on Tuesday night, they will be able to rest up for their next opponent — possibly a rematch with LeBron James and the Miami Heat.