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Pacers take 2-0 series lead over Hawks in playoffs

INDIANAPOLIS -- Paul George had 27 points to help the Indiana Pacers defeat the Atlanta Hawks 113-98 on Wednesday night and take a 2-0 lead in their first-round Eastern Conference playoff series.

George, who had been named the NBA's most improved player on Tuesday, was coming off a triple-double with 23 points, 12 assists and 11 rebounds in Game 1 on Sunday.

He had plenty of help in Game 2. George Hill scored 22 points, Roy Hibbert had 15 points and nine rebounds and reserve Gerald Green added 15 points for the Pacers.

Devin Harris scored 17 points and Jeff Teague added 16 for the Hawks. Josh Smith scored 16 points, but he only played 20 minutes because of foul trouble.

The Pacers have won all 10 NBA playoff series in which they have taken a 2-0 lead, including five sweeps. Game 3 will be played Saturday in Atlanta.

The game followed a similar script to Game 1: Atlanta shot well but was outrebounded and outscored by a large margin at the free-throw line.

Pacers guard Lance Stephenson bruised his right hip in the first quarter and went to the locker room. He returned in the third quarter, and his basket early in the period gave Indiana a 71-57 lead.

Atlanta gained some momentum and cut Indiana's lead to eight midway through the quarter, but Jeff Pendergraph made a jumper as the shot clock expired, then George made a layup to put the Pacers up 12 with 4:10 left in the third quarter.

The Pacers closed the quarter in style. With 1.2 seconds left, David West launched a full-court pass that Green caught and dunked before the buzzer to give Indiana an 88-76 lead at the end of the period, and Indiana maintained control from there.

The Pacers led 25-19 at the end of the first quarter. Green hit a 3-pointer to give the Pacers a 43-34 lead with about seven minutes left in the first half, but Atlanta hung tough. A 3-pointer by Kyle Korver cut the Hawks' deficit to 45-40.

Indiana's D.J. Augustin hit back-to-back 3-pointers to extend Indiana's lead to 57-46 late in the second quarter, and the Pacers led 59-50 at halftime.

Notes: George finished eighth and Hibbert came in 10th in Defensive Player of the Year balloting. George had eight first-place votes and 57 total points. Hibbert had three first-place votes and 36 total points. ... George was the fourth Pacers player since the start of the 1999-2000 season to win the Most Improved Player award. The others were Jalen Rose in 2000, Jermaine O'Neal in 2002 and Danny Granger in 2009. Granger presented the award to George before Wednesday's game, and George received a standing ovation. ... Atlanta's Jeff Teague got one vote in the Most Improved balloting. ... Granger, who is out for the season with a left knee injury, had a brace over the knee and walked with the help of a cane. ... Hibbert, a 7-foot-2 center, made a 3-pointer from the corner at the end of the first quarter, but it came just after the buzzer and did not count.