George also managed to slow down the shifty Jeff Teague.
Kyle Korver led the Hawks with 19 points and Teague had 16. Paul Millsap added 15 points and 17 rebounds — not enough for Atlanta to become the team with the fewest regular-season wins (38) to reach the second round since Detroit’s 36-win team in 1976.
“We had a good number of very good looks, good opportunities, and that’s a big part of the game,” Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer said. “You have to make some shots, and tonight we weren’t able to do it at the rate that we needed to.”
For the first time in the series, Indiana made it look easy.
The teams traded leads seven times early in the second quarter, and then the Pacers’ defense got stingy. It didn’t allow Atlanta to make a basket over the final 6:12 of the first half, using a 14-2 run to take control with a 47-36 halftime lead that ended with Ian Mahinmi’s clean block as Teague drove in for a dunk at the buzzer.
“We just couldn’t score for a good, long stretch,” Korver said. “In the second half, we had the mindset that we would go out guns blazing. I think we got a little too 3-happy and shot maybe a few too many. When you don’t make them, it creates long rebounds and they took those and got out and ran.”
“We’re happy to get over this hump,” George said, “and get ready for the next task.”
Notes: Indiana played Game 7 at home for the first time in its NBA history. … Atlanta is 2-3 all-time in Game 7s since the franchise moved from St. Louis. … The 14-point margin was Indiana’s second-largest victory margin in Game 7, trailing only a 27-point win at Boston in 2005. … Indiana set a franchise playoff record with 13 blocks.