INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana coach Nate McMillan wanted the Pacers to get tough Friday night.
Paul George made sure they did with a finishing flurry.
He scored the last six points of regulation to force overtime then gave the Pacers the lead three times in overtime to lead Indiana back from a 16-point third-quarter deficit for a 115-111 victory over Sacramento.
"I told our guys before the game tonight, we won’t play another game like this unless we play Sacramento again. It’s old school basketball," McMillan said.
George thrived with that style to help the Pacers win for the second straight night.
He finished with 33 points in 45 minutes, made 16 of 17 free throws, grabbed four rebounds and had three assists — and the stat line didn’t even do his effort justice.
At the end of regulation and again at the end of overtime, George doubled down on DeMarcus Cousins both times and allowed his teammates to come up with crucial blocks.
His teammates pitched in, too.
Jeff Teague fell just short of his first career triple double, finishing with 17 points, eight rebounds and eight assists. C.J. Miles had 18 points on six 3-pointers and Myles Turner scored 14 points and had four assists.
But it was George’s scoring punch that allowed the Pacers to close the 16-point deficit to six after three, to erase an 11-point deficit with 6:30 left in regulation and finally steal a win.
"It’s a gut check that we’re not as bad as what the score is showing right now," George said when asked about playing from behind. "I give my guys credit for always staying in the game, staying in the fight, regardless of how the game is going."
Cousins had 26 points and 16 rebounds but missed three shots in the last 60 seconds of regulation including an alley-oop lay in at the buzzer. Darren Collison also had 26 points for Sacramento, which has lost six of eight.
The Pacers forced overtime by closing regulation on a 17-5 run. George then opened overtime with a driving layup to give Indiana its first lead since early in the second quarter and after the teams each traded two baskets, George made a 21-footer with 35 seconds left to make it 113-111.
Teague’s two free throws with 2.0 seconds to go sealed it.
"We had them on their heels the whole game but not in the last five minutes," Collison said. "They became more aggressive, they were being more physical."
Kings: Coach Dave Joerger and Pacers coach Nate McMillan wore bow ties in honour of Michael H. Goldberg, who served as executive director of the NBA’s coaching union for nearly four decades. He died late last week at age 73. … … Matt Barnes and McMillan traded words during a timeout in the fourth quarter but nothing was called. … Sacramento was 11 of 16 on 3-pointers in the first half but went 2 of 10 in the second half and overtime. … Kosta Koufos had 12 rebounds.
Pacers: George has scored 30 points in three straight games. … Miles moved past Austin Croshere (376) for No. 8 on the Pacers’ career list for 3s during their NBA era. Miles has 382. … The Pacers swept the season series for the first time since 2013-14.
Before the game, Joerger went out of his way to apologize to the Cleveland Cavaliers for the team’s Twitter post following Wednesday night’s 116-112 overtime victory. The image had a sword through the letter "L" instead of the Cavs’ usual letter "C." Joerger brought up the subject unprompted and said he didn’t know how it happened.
"That is their (the Cavs) logo and that is something that needs to be apologized for," Joerger said. "That should not have happened."
Coming into the game, the Pacers were just 1-7 on the second night of back-to-backs this season. So McMillan challenged the Pacers to change course and they did.
"It was just the will to come out and get this game," Turner said.
Kings: Continue their eight-game trip at Charlotte on Saturday.
Pacers: Host the Houston Rockets, who they’ve beaten four consecutive times in Indy.