INDIANAPOLIS — Paul George went into desperation mode to salvage the Pacers’ season.
It was barely good enough.
The 24-year-old All-Star scored 21 of his 37 points in the fourth quarter and inspired Indiana to fend off Miami’s late challenges as the Pacers staved off playoff elimination with a 93-90 Game 5 victory on Wednesday night.
“My message to the whole team was the light needs to be on green for all of us,” coach Frank Vogel said. “You need to go, you need to attack, you need to be aggressive. Paul took it and ran with it and took it to a crazy level.”
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The most crucial shooting performance of George’s career allowed the Pacers to climb within 3-2 in the Eastern Conference finals and postponed Miami’s fourth straight coronation as conference champs. Game 6 is Friday in Miami.
It took everything in George’s repertoire to get it done. He was 12 of 19 from the field in the second half, finished with six rebounds, six steals, five three-pointers and only three turnovers in 45 minutes.
But the Pacers also needed everything else to go right.
Four-time MVP LeBron James was limited to 24½ minutes because of major foul trouble. He finished with a career-playoff-low seven points, two rebounds and four assists. The Heat committed 17 turnovers, compared to just 13 for the usually turnover-prone Pacers, and Indiana had a 45-38 rebounding edge, too.
The biggest difference was George, whose 21 fourth-quarter points were the most scored against Miami in any playoff quarter. The previous record, 20, was set by Michael Jordan in May 1997.
“I just felt it. I felt in rhythm. I had to be aggressive,” George said. “I tried to come out and be aggressive to start this game off and I was getting looks. I got hot.”
For Miami, it was a rare stumble in an elimination game in the Big Three era.
Chris Bosh scored 20 points, Dwyane Wade and Rashard Lewis each had 18, and the Heat made 15 of 31 three-pointers to stay within clinching distance.
The Heat still had a chance to take the lead with 4.9 seconds left. But Bosh’s three-pointer was off the mark and the Pacers grabbed the rebound.
LOS ANGELES — Shelly Sterling was reviewing bids from five groups interested in buying the Los Angeles Clippers, a person with knowledge of the negotiations told The Associated Press.
If an agreement to sell is reached before next Tuesday, the league’s owners wouldn’t meet in New York to vote on terminating Donald Sterling’s ownership.
The source wouldn’t specify the interested buyers but described them as major players with considerable financial means. The person told the AP the sale price “appears to be increasing to an unbelievable number,” and that it could soar past $1.5 billion to $2 billion.
ESPN reported the early bids are in the range of $1 billion to $1.2 billion. Multiple reports said there could be another round of bidding this weekend.
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