ORLANDO, FLORIDA – It wasn’t Indiana’s best shooting night, not by a long shot.
But the Pacers made enough shots and played enough defense to beat the Orlando Magic 95-86 on Wednesday.
“They had a lot of open misses and so did we,” Pacers guard George Hill. “But you’ve got to do something to stop the bleeding in order to survive in this league and we were the ones who hit the shots down the stretch.”
Paul George had 20 points and Monta Ellis scored nine of his 19 in the fourth quarter, helping the Pacers beat the Magic for the sixth straight time.
George, who scored at least 31 points in his previous three games, shot 5 of 13 but led a second-quarter rally that put Indiana ahead for good.
“This was a defensive battle. Both teams couldn’t make shots,” George said. “It came down to that last separation and we did a good job of doing so.”
After the teams combined to shoot 5-for-39 from 3-point range in the first three quarters, Hill and the Magic’s Victor Oladipo picked up the scoring pace in the fourth with two long-range jumpers apiece.
Oladipo led the Magic with 20 points, 11 in the fourth period. Nik Vucevic added 17 points and four rebounds.
Orlando missed nine of its first 10 shots and fell behind by nine points early. But Jason Smith made three shots and left the game with an ankle injury during a 15-6 spurt that left the Magic with a six-point lead, its largest of the game, late in the second quarter.
George scored the final five points of an 8-0 Indiana run early in the second half, and the Pacers held the lead for the rest of the game.
The Magic were down 71-69 when Oladipo hit a 3-pointer midway through the fourth quarter, but Hill answered with consecutive 3s for Indiana. Hill scored nine of his 16 points in the final period and made all three of his 3-point shots for a team that was 6 for 22 overall.
But the Magic, who have lost four straight for the first time this season, shot even worse from behind the arc.
“Early on we were just wide open and couldn’t make them. That happens,” Magic coach Scott Skiles said. “But 6 for 31 is hard to overcome. You have to make 3s in this league to win a game.”
Two free throws by George gave the Pacers their first 10-point lead with 3:02 remaining. Evan Fournier and Oladipo hit 3-pointers in Orlando’s final run, but Ellis clinched it for the Pacers with four straight free throws in the final minute.
“I didn’t feel Indiana played that well and they were still able to beat us,” Skiles said.
Cavaliers 121, Wizards 115
In Washington, LeBron James scored 34 points, Kyrie Irving took over in the fourth quarter and Cleveland beat the injury-ravaged Wizards.
Irving scored 21 of his 32 points in the fourth quarter.
Knicks 98, Heat 90
In Miami, Carmelo Anthony scored 25 points and New York shot 56 percent to snap a streak of eight consecutive losses to the Heat.
Anthony was 9-for-12 shooting. In his first two games against Miami, Anthony shot 10-for-29 and totaled 32 points.
Thunder 112, Grizzlies 94
In Oklahoma City, Kevin Durant had 26 points and a season-high 17 rebounds after missing the previous game with a sprained right big toe.
Durant, who began the day as the NBA’s No. 3 scorer, broke loose for 17 points in the second half on 7-for-8 shooting. He played 33 minutes and appeared to have no problems with mobility.
Mavericks 100, Pelicans 91
In New Orleans, Raymond Felton scored 22 points in a game in which Dallas chose to rest four starters.
Spurs 123, Jazz 98
In San Antonio, Tim Duncan scored a season-high 18 points and the Spurs had eight other players in double figures.
Clippers 109, Trail Blazers 98
In Portland, Chris Paul had 21 points and 19 assists to lead Los Angeles to a win.
Raptors 91, Nets 74
In New York, Jonas Valanciunas had 22 points and 11 rebounds, and Toronto handed the Nets their eighth straight home loss.
Pistons 99, Celtics 94
In Boston, Reggie Jackson had 24 points, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope finished with 20 and Detroit beat the Celtics.
Suns 111, Hornets 102
In Phoenix, Mirza Teletovic made five of the Suns’ season-high 19 3-pointers as Phoenix ended a nine-game skid by beating Charlotte.
Nuggets 78, Timberwolves 74
In Minneapolis, Danilo Gallinari had 20 points, seven rebounds and four assists to help Denver snap a six-game losing streak.