INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana had everything covered Wednesday night.
When Atlanta tried to get tough, the Pacers buckled down and got even tougher. When the Hawks tried to run, the Pacers simply slowed them down. And when the Hawks tried to rally, well, the Pacers punched back with Paul George, George Hill or any other open shooter.
The result was the same.
George scored 27 points, his second straight playoff career high, Hill finished with 22 and the Pacers pulled away from the reeling Hawks 113-98 to take their first 2-0 lead in a playoff series since the 2004 Eastern Conference semifinals.
"We naturally just play physical," George said. "It wasn't like 'Hey, let's play physical, let's retaliate.' That's just how we play. That's how we approach the game. We just have to keep playing how we play."
Indiana made it look easy.
They matched Atlanta's intensity step for step, and when they had a chance to put things away, they didn't hesitate.
Three days after George posted the second triple-double in the franchise's NBA postseason history, he put on another brilliant show. The league's Most Improved Player rebounded from a 3-for-13 shooting effort to go 11 of 21. He finished with eight rebounds, three assists, four steals and turned in another sterling defensive performance as the Pacers won their fourth straight at home over Atlanta.
There was plenty of credit to go around.
After a slow start, Hill knocked down four 3-pointers before hitting his right elbow hard on the court late in the game. He said he expects to play in Game 3 on Saturday.
Roy Hibbert wound up with 15 points and nine rebounds, and Gerald Green came off the bench, made his first three 3s and finished with 15 points. Indiana, which relied primarily on defense to win its first Central Division crown in nine years, has topped the 100-point mark in consecutive playoff games. And the 113 points was the highest postseason total for the Pacers since a 120-87 rout over the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2000 NBA Finals.