INDIANAPOLIS — Reggie Miller never had a 3-point barrage quite like the one Paul George had Wednesday night.
George dropped a franchise-record nine 3s — all in the second half and overtime — and scored 33 of his career-high 37 points after halftime to help the Indiana Pacers defeat the New Orleans Hornets 115-107.
In true Miller fashion, George hit three 3-pointers in the fourth quarter and two in overtime.
George struggled to find words to describe what it meant to move ahead of Miller, who set the team record with eight threes in 1993 and matched it in 1997 on his way to becoming the league’s all-time leader beyond the arc.
“It’s an honor, for one, to be able to beat Reggie’s record,” George said. “I don’t even know what to say to that. I’m happy that shots just fell today.”
George, at times, had pressed while trying to fill the scoring void left by the injured Danny Granger. In Wednesday’s game, George finally found a balance between letting the game come to him and looking to shoot.
“We were waiting on a breakout game from him,” Pacers coach Frank Vogel said. “With a player you’re trying to develop, the biggest battle is confidence, and when you have a game like this, it shows what you can do.”
Roy Hibbert had 10 points, 11 rebounds and a career-best 11 blocks in just the second triple-double in Pacers history that included blocks.
“He’s been our backbone defensively all year,” George said. “Early on, he’s struggled a little bit, but it’s good to see him starting to come back and be the All-Star we had last year.”
David West and George Hill each scored 16 points for the Pacers (6-7), who have won three of four.
“Our offense, we’re starting to click a little bit,” George said. “We’re not turning it over as much. Us just staying with it, it’s starting to come along now.”
Indiana’s versatility made it difficult for the Hornets to defend George.
“You’ve got David West on the pick and roll and Roy Hibbert underneath the rim,” New Orleans’ Al-Farouq Aminu said. “We’d rather give up uncontested 3s rather than easy twos. But someone was going to have to look for a way to cool him down, and we just couldn’t find him.”
Robin Lopez had 21 points and 13 rebounds for New Orleans, but he made just 3 of 17 field goals. Jason Smith added 18 points for the Hornets (3-7), who lost their fifth straight.
“We competed tonight and didn’t get a bounce,” New Orleans coach Monty Williams said. “Rebounds were finding their way out of our hands.”
First overall pick Anthony Davis missed his second consecutive game for New Orleans with a stress reaction in his left ankle.
The Pacers trailed 90-83 in the fourth quarter before back-to-back 3-pointers by Lance Stephenson and George cut the deficit to a point and forced New Orleans to call timeout with 3:05 remaining.
George hit another 3-pointer with 1:17 left in regulation to give Indiana a 97-93 lead. Aminu’s high-arching baseline jumper with 22.3 seconds left tied the score at 97.
Indiana had several chances to win it in the closing seconds. West missed, Hibbert missed a putback dunk, then Hill missed in close and, finally, Stephenson missed from near the 3-point line at the buzzer.
Indiana kept rolling on offense in overtime. Back-to-back 3s by George and Hill gave the Pacers a 103-97 lead one minute into the extra period. A layup by West and a pair of free throws by George gave Indiana a 10-point lead.
“We gave up two 3s right away, and you’re down six in overtime against a team with that many vets on it,” Williams said. “It’s a tough spot.”
New Orleans rallied one more time. A 3-pointer by Roger Mason trimmed Indiana’s lead to 107-103, but George hit another 3-pointer at the other end to give the Pacers control again.
New Orleans led 47-43 at halftime as Smith scored 10 points off the bench. The Hornets led by 10 points late in the first quarter, lost the lead, then regained it before the break.
The Pacers came out of the break with a quick 5-0 run. A 3-pointer by George and an acrobatic layup by Stephenson gave Indiana a 48-47 lead. Another 3 by George pushed the Pacers’ lead to four.
The Hornets rallied, and Ryan Anderson’s 3-pointer gave the Hornets the lead back at 56-53.
Aminu’s alley-oop dunk on a lob from Greivis Vasquez gave New Orleans a 72-65 lead, but Indiana rallied late in the third quarter. A layup by George tied the score at 72, and a three-point play by Sam Young gave the Pacers a 75-74 lead at the end of the quarter. George scored 14 points on 5-for-10 shooting in the period.
George went on to score 11 points in the fourth quarter and eight in overtime.
“The best thing about this is the win,” he said. “If you have these kinds of games and don’t win, it doesn’t mean anything.”