INDIANAPOLIS: Paul George tallied 24 points and six assists as the Indiana Pacers pounded reigning NBA champion Miami 107-96 Sunday (Monday in Manila) in the opening game of their Eastern Conference final series.
The Pacers started quickly by draining six of their first seven three-point attempts en route to a wire-to-wire victory to begin the best-of-seven series against the two-time defending National Basketball Association champions.
“We have been struggling in the opening games of playoff series at home,” George said. “If we were to lose the first game against a great club like the Miami Heat it would have made this a very long series.
“We came out with a great urgency to get this one.”
The Pacers shot 59 percent from the field in the first half to lead 55-45 at half-time in front of a crowd of 18,165 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Indiana continued to dictate the pace in the second half, leading by as much as 19 in the third quarter.
This is a rematch of last year’s conference championship, which was won in seven games by the Heat. Miami also defeated Indiana in the quarter-final round of the 2012 playoffs.
Game two is Tuesday in Indianapolis.
The winner of this series will play either San Antonio or Oklahoma City in next month’s NBA finals.