Stephenson helped the Pacers rally from 19 points down to defeat the Toronto Raptors, 108-90, on Tuesday night.
All-Star forward Paul Millsap missed seven straight games with left knee synovitis before playing a reserve role in a 91-82 loss at the Nets on Sunday.
When George is locked in, he shuts down his man, drills shots from all over the floor and finds his teammates for good looks.
IN (38-40), which trailed by as many as 19 in the first half Tuesday, improved to 7-25 in games in which it has trailed by at least 15 points.
Washington took care of business at home against Charlotte, moving the Wizards into a tie with Toronto for the No. 3 seed, but the Raptors hold the tiebreaker based on their season-series win. Part of that came from shooting 34.9% of their shots while the Raptors to shoot 50%. Assuming the Bulls are playoff-bound, the Pacers need to finish ahead of Miami to clinch a postseason spot. You saw on Tuesday (and the other night when he went head-to-head against LeBron James) that it's true, even if DeMar DeRozan has had a great season and even though Kyle Lowry is close to the same stratosphere as George as one of the East's truly premier players.
Stephenson apologized for scoring with a 16-point lead. Tucker appears to fire up DeRozan (his uptick in defence and his anger at Stephenson are examples). "He wants it just as much as we do". You guys know, I don't turn down free points with the better team, and I'm not doing it here with the Pistons sucking.
"I think he was just caught up in the game, the emotions of the game", said Nate McMillan.
Had the Pacers avoided a six-game losing streak in February, and a four-game losing streak until their victory Tuesday, their playoff fate would have never come down to this.
Added DeRozen: "The game was over". IN only needed to run out the clock, but Stephenson had other ideas.
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Set aside, for a moment, the show Lance Stephenson put on, every tongue-wagging facet of his game and personality on display, warts and all.
Let's just call a spade a spade here when it comes to Stephenson - are you really surprised by this? "When he is out there, he is in a zone emotionally". That's who Lance is and that's what this locker room lacked.
Toronto coach Dwane Casey said the second half was all Indiana. After the game, Johnson was fuming, but kept his cool to drop that gem of a quote, then immediately went nuts again once he finished, heading toward the bus bay in an attempt to get at Drummond that he eventually was talked out of.
DeRozan scored 20 points in the period, the rest of the team four, while George poured in 19 as Indy exploded for 37 points in the quarter. He ranks third among Pacers players and 79th in the National Basketball Association with a 2.1 nERD on the season.
Toronto at Detroit, 6:30 p.m.
The Pacers were 9 of 13 on 3-pointers in the second half.
Carroll and Valanciunas each scored eight first-half points for Toronto.
15 points and 11 rebounds as he continues to play better as his wrist heals. (Paul George), Al (Jefferson) and Monta (Ellis).
"Tasteless. Classless. There's nowhere in the league for that", P.J. However, don't order refreshments for your playoff viewing just yet. Toronto coach Dwane Casey was an assistant for IN coach Nate McMillan IN Seattle for five seasons (2000-2005).