INDIANAPOLIS — Paul George scored 31 of his 37 points in the second half Wednesday night and almost single-handedly kept the Indiana Pacers alive in the Eastern Conference finals with a 93-90 victory over the Miami Heat.
The Pacers still trail 3-2 in the best-of-seven series. Game 6 will be played Friday in Miami.
It took a frantic effort just to extend the series, even with the foul-plagued LeBron James held to just seven points in 23 minutes. Chris Bosh led the Heat with 20 points but missed a potential go-ahead 3-pointer in the closing seconds.
Indiana turned a 50-41 deficit into a 64-57 lead after three, then led by as much as 11 in the fourth. But Miami's last-ditch rally made it 91-90 with 16 seconds to go before Indiana held on.
The Pacers played like a desperate team trying to save their season. They chased shooters all over the floor, ran down loose balls, even put themselves in harm's way. Lance Stephenson appeared to hurt his left shoulder in the third quarter after a hard fall and still finished the game.
But hard falls and tough plays were a theme all night for a team that had been roundly criticized for its lack of effort in Monday night's loss.
Until George amped it up in the second half, it looked like the Heat would close out the series with a fourth straight win.
But unlike Game 2, the Pacers fended off the closing charge.
Trailing 50-41 with 6:56 left in the third quarter, George started the comeback with a layup and ended the 11-0 run with a steal and dunk that gave Indiana a 52-50 lead with 3:54 left.
Indiana led 77-66 in the fourth before Miami scored nine straight to make it 77-75 and finally tied it at 81 on James' only 3 of the night with 3:51 to play.
Indiana got a short bank shot from David West and 20-foot jumper from George to make it 85-81. Bosh and Rashard Lewis, who had 18 points, each hits 3s in the final 1:16 to cut the lead to one, but George hit a 3 and West made 1 of 2 free throws to seal it.
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