George's 39 gives Indiana 3-1 lead

HOWARD FENDRICH AP Sports Writer Published:

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Paul George forced Indiana Pacers coach Frank Vogel to leave him on the court.

George took -- and made -- the key shots, to the tune of a career playoff-high 39 points. He grabbed rebounds, 12 in all. He guarded the Wizards' most dangerous scorer. When there was a loose ball, it was George diving to the floor to collect it.

In sum, the tireless George willed the up-and-down Pacers within one victory of a return trip to the Eastern Conference finals, playing every second of the final three quarters as Indiana erased a 19-point deficit to beat Washington 95-92 Sunday night.

"I kept wanting to try to get him a rest, and he kept saying, 'No,'" Vogel said. "And usually I'll override that, but he kept making big shots, too."

Roy Hibbert had 17 points and nine rebounds, continuing his recent surge after a poor-as-can-be, zero-point, zero-rebound showing in Game 1. He responded with 28 points in Game 2, then 14 in Game 3, before helping Indiana win its third consecutive game Sunday, when Hibbert said he got a motivational boost from what he called a heckling fan.

"He woke me up," Hibbert said. "He said I was tired. He was saying a lot of obscenities. I'm a God-fearing man, so I'm not going to go ahead and say what he was saying."

After dropping Game 1, the Pacers have won three in a row to go up 3-1 and can close out the best-of-seven series at home Tuesday night. Only eight teams in NBA history have blown that lead.

"We've got a chance to make something happen," said Washington's Bradley Beal, who was hounded at the defensive end by George and worked hard to get his 20 points.

Beal might be right, but Washington better figure out how to limit George, who averaged 14.5 points in Games 1 and 2, but ramped that up with 23 Friday.

And he was not about to let Vogel put him on the sideline down the stretch Sunday.

In all, George played 46 minutes, and he scored 28 points after halftime.

CLIPPERS 101, THUNDER 99

LOS ANGELES -- Darren Collison scored eight of his 18 points in the final 2:58, and the Los Angeles Clippers ralled to beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 101-99 on Sunday to tie the Western Conference semifinal series 2-2.

Russell Westbrook, who scored 27 points, missed a 3-pointer and Serge Ibaka's tip attempt was too late at the buzzer, allowing the Clippers to salvage a game they trailed until the final 1:23.

Blake Griffin led Los Angeles with 25 points, making 9 of 11 free throws, and Chris Paul had 23 points and 10 assists. Jamal Crawford added 18 points. DeAndre Jordan had 14 rebounds, helping the Clippers win the boards, 45-43 -- the first time in 11 playoff games the Thunder were outrebounded.

Kevin Durant scored 40 points, hitting 15 of 18 free throws, for the Thunder.

Game 5 is Tuesday night in Oklahoma City.

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