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Perfect Pacers equal franchise record

Updated: 2013-11-10 07:57
By Associated Press in Indianapolis ( China Daily)

For a half, Rudy Gay dominated Paul George. The way George had started the season, Gay knew better than to think it would last.

George scored 17 of his 23 points in the third quarter and the Indiana Pacers beat the Toronto Raptors 91-84 Friday night to improve to 6-0 and match the best start in franchise history.

George, who entered the day fourth in the league in scoring at 25.8 points per game, is a big reason.

"Paul George is a great defender," Gay said. "He's not just going to sit down and let people score on him. Everybody on our team expected him to warm up."

Gay scored a season-high 30 points on 12-of-26 shooting for the Raptors, but was held to 3-of-13 after halftime.

George bounced back from a five-point, 2-of-10 first half to completely change the tenor of the small forward matchup on both ends of the floor. Gay's 22 points had carried Toronto to a 46-44 lead at intermission.

"Thank God he just stopped making those contested shots," George said.

"It was frustrating because he was hitting some tough ones, but in this league, jump shots don't always last. So I was just trying to pressure up and contest all his shots."

Toronto lost its third straight to fall to 2-4. Amir Johnson added 12 points and 10 rebounds. The Raptors shot 39.5 percent from the field, becoming the sixth consecutive opponent Indiana has held to 40 percent shooting or worse.

Roy Hibbert added a season-high 20 points and seven rebounds as the Pacers remained the NBA's lone undefeated team.

"Everybody has to sacrifice something," Hibbert said. "It's somebody different every night. I don't expect to have20-point nights all the time."

The Pacers improved to 6-0 for the first time since the 1970-71, when the club played in the American Basketball Association. They rallied from a halftime deficit for the fifth time this season and overcame 16 turnovers.

George was good on an arcing 3-pointer over a leaping Landry Fields at the third-quarter buzzer and pumped his fists in celebration before sprinting to Indiana's bench and slapping hands with teammates.

He outscored the Raptors 17-13 in the period while shooting 5-of-9 from the field and making all five free throws.

The Pacers led 72-59 entering the fourth quarter.

While George had Hibbert's scoring and 14 points from George Hill, Gay never received much support. His usual wingman, DeMar DeRozan, entered averaging 19.2 points per game but scored just six.

"It's tough on the whole team when DeMar struggles," Gay said. "I have to figure out how we can make us both comfortable at the same time."

George added eight rebounds, six assists and two steals. His sensational start to his fourth season had fans peppering him with the occasional "M-V-P" chant.

(China Daily 11/10/2013 page7)

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