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Basketball: Pacers pound Wizards to take 2-1 series lead

The Indiana Pacers seized control of their NBA second round playoff series by beating Washington 85-63 behind a 23-point performance from Paul George and a superb defensive effort.

WASHINGTON: The Indiana Pacers seized control of their NBA second round playoff series by beating Washington 85-63 behind a 23-point performance from Paul George and a superb defensive effort.

George scored seven of his points in the third quarter as the Pacers turned a one-point halftime lead into a 60-45 advantage heading into the fourth quarter.

"We have gotten to this point because of defence. And that is what we did tonight," said George.

Indiana outscored the Wizards by 14 points in the third to take a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference series.

Roy Hibbert tallied 14 points and five rebounds, while David West scored 12 points in the victory in front of a crowd of 20,356 at the Verizon Center arena.

"We try to highlight the positives and to recognise that what we were able to do tonight gives us more defensive confidence," Pacers coach Frank Vogel.

Bradley Beal paced the Wizard attack with 16 points and Trevor Ariza added 12 points and 15 rebounds.

This was the second straight game Hibbert scored in double figures.

Hibbert scored zero points and grabbed zero rebounds in the game one loss. Hibbert went scoreless three times in these playoffs.

The Wizards shot just 32.9 percent from the field, including four-of-16 from beyond the arc as they lost their second consecutive game.

"They controlled the game," Washington's Ariza said.

The Wizards will look to get back on track Sunday when they host game four.

Washington won the opener on Monday, but the Pacers climbed back into the series with an 86-82 win at home on Wednesday.

Friday marked the first second-round playoff game in Washington since 2005. That year, the Wizards lost in four straight to the Miami Heat.

Post-season basketball returned to Washington for the first time since 2008 and this season is the third time since 1982 Washington advanced past the first round.

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