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George scores 27; Stephenson gets crowd going


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INDIANAPOLIS

There are routs, and there are blowouts.

And then there’s what the Indiana Pacers did Wednesday night to the New York Knicks.

Traditional labels barely do it justice.

Dunks, defense, 3-pointers and steals, the Pacers combined it all for a 125-91 demolition of the Knicks in Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

In the process, Indiana (33-21) closed to within a half-game of the Knicks (32-19) for the second-best record in the Eastern Conference.

What better way to come out of the All-Star break?

Paul George, coming off his first All-Star appearance, scored a game-high 27 points to lead five Indiana players in double figures. He also had eight rebounds, three assists, two blocked shots and a steal and made 4 of 9 3-point attempts.

Lance Stephenson, in the most electrifying performance of his three-year career, had 14 points, five rebounds, three assists and two steals and repeatedly brought a crowd of 16,123 to its feet with an assortment of dunks and energy plays that inspired teammates as well.

David West added 14 points, and George Hill and Tyler Hansbrough had 10 each for the Pacers, who never trailed and who — after going up 20-10 at the 4:23 mark of the first quarter — maintained a double-digit lead the rest of the way.

And it only got bigger from there.

Much bigger.

Indiana led 30-18 at the end of the first quarter and was up 74-44 at halftime.

But the Pacers weren’t finished.

They increased their lead to 81-48 midway through the third period and took a 34-point advantage — 93-59 — into the final quarter.

And they still weren’t through.

The Pacers led by 38 on two occasions in the fourth quarter. The Knicks never got closer than 23 in the period.

For the game, the Pacers shot 53 percent from the field and limited New York to 34 percent. They also outrebounded the Knicks 54-39.

All-Star center Tyson Chandler led New York, which is on a three-game skid, with 19 points and 11 rebounds. Carmelo Anthony, the NBA’s second-leading scorer heading in at 28.6 points per game, had 15 points on 7-of-21 shooting.

Chris Copeland scored 13 points off the bench for the Knicks, and Raymond Felton added 12.

Indiana’s next game is Friday against the visiting Detroit Pistons. The Pacers, who have won seven of their past nine games, are 22-5 at home. Five of their next seven games are in Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

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