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Pacers pull out of skid, keep Wizards winless

The SportsXchange

INDIANAPOLIS -- It took a game against a winless team, but the Indiana Pacers finally put an end to their three-game losing streak.

Washington forward Trevor Booker missed a left-handed hook that would have tied the score with 1.2 seconds remaining in the Pacers' 89-85 victory at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Saturday night.

"Guys seemed a little tired, but really gutted it out," Pacers coach Frank Vogel said. "We're in a figure-things-out kind of mode."

Pacers swingman Paul George made two free throws after the Booker miss to seal the game. The loss dropped the Wizards to 0-5 on the season. They'll try to get their first victory Tuesday at Charlotte. The Pacers, who remain without leading scorer Danny Granger (knee), improved to 3-4.

Down two with 17.9 seconds remaining, the desperate Wizards were looking for a 3-pointer for the win. The Pacers did an excellent job switching on picks to make sure the Wizards couldn't get a 3-pointer off. That led to Booker attempting the left-handed hook.

George led the Pacers with 20 points on 8-of-12 shooting from the field. Swingman Gerald Green came off the bench to chip in 15 points.

Former Pacers guard A.J. Price dished out a career-high 14 assists in 37 minutes for Washington.

Six of the Pacers' seven games have come down to the final 45 seconds or overtime this season. They're 3-3 in those six games.

"No, we're going to start rolling," Vogel said when asked about playing close games all season.

But as well as George shot the ball, it was forward Tyler Hansbrough's energy off the bench that helped the Pacers.

Hansbrough only scored six points and missed eight free throws, but he pulled down six rebounds and came up with two key steals in the fourth quarter when the Pacers bounced back from an eight-point deficit early in the quarter.

"I try to bring energy off the bench," Hansbrough said. "I'm just trying to come out and help the team win. Whatever I can do to help."

Point guard D.J. Augustin's 3-pointer off an assist from David West put the Pacers up 80-78 with 8:14 left in the game.

The Pacers went up for good three minutes later on a 16-foot jumper from George.

Vogel is in scramble mode trying to get his team out of its funk. He shook up his starting lineup for the second time in less than a week by inserting Lance Stephenson into the shooting guard spot, moving George to small forward and taking Sam Young out of the rotation.

Stephenson finished with 12 points, four rebounds and two assists in 31 minutes. He was 2 of 2 on 3-pointers.

"When I hit my first shot, I thought I might not miss no more," Stephenson said. "I felt good."

The lineup change didn't mean much early in the game for the Pacers because the Wizards definitely played like the team that was more desperate to pick up a win than the Pacers.

Washington went up 20-15 after rookie Bradley Beal scored and was fouled by Stephenson with less than three minutes left in the first quarter.

The Wizards got their biggest lead of the half -- seven points -- in the second quarter when Martell Webster hit a 3-pointer to make it 36-29.

The Pacers finally got it going late in the second quarter to get back into the game. They closed the half on a 7-0 run to tie the score 49-49 heading into the locker room.

George capped of his strong first half by making a 3-pointer as time expired. He scored 11 points on 5-of-5 shooting in the first half.

Notes: Price spent the first three seasons of his career with the Pacers where he shuffled between the third point guard and backup point guard. The Pacers renounced Price's rights during the offseason. Price is Washington's starting point guard in place of injured John Wall (knee). ... Stephenson, who made the second start of his career Saturday, scored a career-high 22 points in his first start against the Chicago Bulls on April 25, 2012. ... Pacers forward Jeff Pendergraph has been cleared to play after being out because of concussion syndrome.
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