George delivers in crunch time for Pacers


Kobe Bryant gave Indiana Pacers fans one last thrill Monday night.

Paul George made sure there was no Hollywood finish for one of the game’s biggest stars.

After Bryant made three straight 3-pointers to give the Los Angeles Lakers a three-point lead with 2:30 left to play, George answered with six straight points to help the Pacers rally for an 89-87 victory.

“To finish the game off with the layup and the drive, him guarding, this one was an epic finish and a special finish,” George said after scoring 21 points and grabbing eight boards. “Just happy we won this.”

Even George said it felt like the Pacers were playing on the road.

The sold-out crowd roared on every basket Bryant made and serenaded him with chants of “Ko-be, Ko-be” after he gave the Lakers an 82-79 lead with 2:30 left to play. They chanted it again after he was pulled from the game with 10.8 seconds left and the Lakers’ fate sealed. Bryant responded by tapping his heart and waving to the crowd on a rugged night.

He scored 19 points but was just 6 of 25 from the field and 4 of 14 on 3-point attempts and couldn’t pull the struggling Lakers (11-43) out of their tailspin. Los Angeles has lost 12 of 14.

“These fans were always very tough. It’s as close to a college basketball atmosphere as you can get,” Bryant said.

Cavaliers 120, Kings 100

In Cleveland, LeBron James had 21 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists for his 40th career triple-double.

Clippers 98, 76ers 92 (OT)

In Philadelphia, J.J. Redick had 23 points, including the tying 3-pointer late in regulation, to lead short-handed Los Angeles.

Magic 117, Hawks 110 (OT)

In Atlanta, Nikola Vucevic scored 25 of his 28 points after halftime for Orlando.

Blazers 112, Grizzlies 106 (OT)

In Memphis, Damian Lillard had 33 points for Portland, and C.J. McCollum had six of his 21 points in overtime.

Thunder 122, Suns 106

In Phoenix, Kevin Durant scored 25 of his 32 points in the second half and Oklahoma City pulled away in the final four minutes to hand the Suns their eighth consecutive loss.

Raptors 103, Pistons 89

In Auburn Hills, Michigan, Kyle Lowry scored 25 points, and Toronto triumphed for the 14th time in 15 games.

Nets 105, Nuggets 104

In New York, Joe Johnson’s 3-pointer at the buzzer lifted Brooklyn to the victory.

Pelicans 116, T-Wolves 102

In Minneapolis, Anthony Davis and Jrue Holiday scored 27 points apiece, and New Orleans snapped a four-game losing streak.

Hornets 108, Bulls 91

In Charlotte, Kemba Walker scored 30 points, powering the Hornets to the victory.