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Pacers 112, Suns 104

The SportsXchange

PHOENIX - Paul George scored 25 points and Roy Hibbert had 12 of his 20 points in the first quarter as the Indiana Pacers beat back a fourth-quarter rally to beat the Suns 112-104 Saturday night.

George Hill added 15 points and David West and Lance Stephenson had 14 each for the Pacers, who pushed past the New York Knicks and back into second place in the Eastern Conference Playoff race.

Goran Dragic had 21 points and nine assists and Markieff Morris added 18 for the Suns, who lost their fifth straight home game for the first time in nine years. With his team down 97-87 with 6:49 to play, Dragic had seven points during an 11-2 Phoenix run and followed a Jermaine O'Neal dunk with a lay-in to pull the Suns within 99-98 with 3:43 left.

But the Pacers put the game away with seven straight points. West started the run with two free throws and ended it with a 15-footer to make it 109-101 Indiana with 34.6 seconds left.

The game featured a rare matchup of brothers on both sides with Markieff and Marcus Morris of Phoenix facing Tyler and Ben Hansbrough of Indiana. Ben Hansbrough didn't play to ruin what would have been an NBA first with both sets of brothers taking part in the same game.

With Dragic back in the lineup after resting for two games, the Suns led by as many as six points early on, with Tucker scoring seven of Phoenix's first 15 points. But the Pacers reeled off 12 straight points during the middle of the period and took a nine-point lead when George followed Hibbert jumper by converting on an O'Neal technical foul with 1:48 left.

Hibbert had 12 points - despite missing four free throws - in the period as the Pacers outscored the Suns 16-4 in the paint and took a 27-21 lead.

The Pacers restored their lead to nine at 34-25 on Stephenson's three-pointer with 8:18 left in the half. Stephenson had all 11 of his first-half points in the second quarter.

Phoenix used the outside shooting of Michael Beasley and Jared Dudley - both with 10 points each in the half, to stay close and inched back within 44-41 on Dragic's fastbreak layup with 3:35 left. But George had five of his 11 first-half points in the final two minutes and Hill's 20-footer beat the halftime buzzer to give Indiana a 57-49 lead.

Phoenix pulled within a point at 64-63 on two Markieff Morris free throws four minutes into the third quarter. Markieff Morris and Scola each had eight points in the period for the Suns. But the Pacers answered with an 18-8 run, and D.J. Augustine following up a 21-footer with two free throws to give Indiana its biggest lead of the night at 82-71.

NOTES: The last time the Suns lost five straight home games was March 6 through March 19, 2004, the year before Steve Nash returned to Phoenix to lead a run of three trips to the Western Conference Finals. That season was also the last time the Pacers swept the Suns in a season series. ... The Pacers came to Phoenix with a 30-15 record since beating the Suns 97-91 on Dec. 28 in Indianapolis. ... Suns coach Lindsey Hunter on the emergence of Paul George in Indiana: "I think when Danny went down it allowed him to really blossom. That forced him to get out of his comfort zone of being the guys next to the guy." ... The Suns came into the game 2-10 since Marcin Gortat went down with his right foot injury. ... Kendall Marshall had 13 and 10 assists in his last two games, the first Suns rookie to record consecutive double-digit assist games in 25 years -- since Kevin Johnson in 1988.
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