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updated: 4/26/2014 4:34 PM

Pacers even series with Hawks, winning 91-88

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  • Atlanta Hawks guard Kyle Korver, left, and Indiana Pacers center Roy Hibbert (55) battle for the rebound in the first half of Game 4 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series, Saturday, April 26, 2014, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

      Atlanta Hawks guard Kyle Korver, left, and Indiana Pacers center Roy Hibbert (55) battle for the rebound in the first half of Game 4 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series, Saturday, April 26, 2014, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

 
Associated Press

ATLANTA -- Paul George and David West hit key 3-pointers down the stretch, and the top-seeded Indiana Pacers held off the Atlanta Hawks 91-88 Saturday to even the opening-round series at two wins apiece.

In a game they had to have, the Pacers finally showed some grit and regained the home-court edge. George put the Pacers ahead 86-85 with a jumper beyond the arc, and West hit another trey with 1:33 remaining.

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Atlanta had a chance after Kyle Korver was fouled in the corner and knocked down three free throws, taking advantage of a do-over after the Pacers were called for a lane violation on the third attempt. But George pulled down an offensive rebound to set up George Hill's driving shot with 56 seconds left.

Pero Antic missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer that would've forced overtime.

Game 5 is Monday in Indianapolis.

George scored 24 points and West added 18. Paul Millsap led the Hawks with 29, but the All-Star forward struggled in the final minute.

First, he turned the ball over with a bad pass. Then, he missed a spinning shot in the lane after Atlanta passed on a chance at a tying 3-pointer.

Indiana left the door open by missing its final four free throws, including a pair by George with 7.5 seconds left when only one would have been enough to seal the victory. But the Pacers buckled down at the defensive end, forcing Antic to throw up a desperation 3 that clanked off the rim.

The Pacers decided against benching Roy Hibbert to go with a smaller lineup against the Hawks, who have taken the 7-foot-2 center out of his comfort zone by spreading the court with their big men and taking advantage of every chance to run.

Hibbert continued to struggle, with just six points and three rebounds in a little less than 25 minutes. But he did have his first two blocks of the series, and his teammates took care of the rest.

Cheered on by a raucous crowd at Philips Arena, where they even took down a curtain that normally covers part of the upper deck, the Hawks looked as though they were headed for a commanding lead in the series as they pushed out to their biggest lead, 54-44, early in the third quarter.

But Millsap picked up two fouls just 7 seconds apart, giving him four in the game and forcing him to the bench for much of the period. The Pacers took advantage of the Atlanta star's absence, whittling the deficit down to 59-56 by the time he returned.

It was tight all the way in the fourth, and things got heated down the stretch.

With about 5½ minutes remaining, Millsap stumbled trying to drive to the basket and two Pacers jumped on him trying to snatch the ball away.

Tempers flared, Hill gave Atlanta's Mike Scott a little shove, and both players were assessed technical fouls. After sorting things out, the officials ruled it a jump ball.

Notes: The Hawks gave a lot more attention to Indiana F Luis Scola, who had scored 37 points in the two previous games. He was held to 4 points in Game 4. ... Scott had 12 points off the Atlanta bench, but went just 4 of 15 from the field. ... Evan Turner gave the Pacers a boost early on, scoring seven straight points. He finished with 11.

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Follow Paul Newberry on Twitter at www.twitter.com/pnewberry1963

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