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NBA: George's triple-double lifts Pacers over Hawks

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

LeBron "King" James and the reigning NBA champion Miami Heat opened their playoff campaign in regal style Sunday with a wire-to-wire 110-87 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks.

James fell two assists shy of a triple-double, scoring 27 points and grabbing 10 rebounds with eight assists as the Heat drew first blood in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference first-round series.

Ray Allen scored 20 points, Dwyane Wade added 16 and Chris Bosh chipped in 15 for the Heat, who carried their strong form of the second half of the regular season seamlessly into the playoffs.

Since the All-Star break the Heat had gone 30-2 -- the best second-half winning percentage in NBA history.

Their league-leading regular season record of 66-16 included a 27-game winning streak and assured them of home-court advantage throughout the playoffs.

Against Milwaukee, who limped into the playoffs as the eighth seed in the East, the Heat showed they intended to put the advantages they've earned to good use.

They held the Bucks to 42 percent shooting and out-rebounded them 46-31.

Brandon Jennings scored 18 of his 26 points in the first half for Milwaukee. Monta Ellis added 22 for the Bucks, who remained without a win in an opening game of a playoff series since May of 2001.

The game was one of two Eastern Conference first-round series openers on Sunday. In the other, Paul George's triple-double fueled the Indiana Pacers' 107-90 victory over the Atlanta Hawks in Indianapolis.

George posted 23 points, 12 assists and 11 rebounds to lead Pacers to their first game-one win in a playoff series since 2006.

"I said before this playoff run I'm leaving everything on the floor," George said. "I know as a team what is expected of me now. I want the pressure. I'll do whatever it takes."

Indiana's four other starters also scored in double figures, with George Hill contributing 18 points and Roy Hibbert 16. David West and Lance Stephenson added 13 points each for the Pacers.

In Indianapolis, George and the rest of the Pacers dominated the Hawks at the foul line.

George made 17 of his 18 free throw attempts and the Pacers made 30-of-34 from the line compleated to 7-of-14 from Atlanta.

Indianapolis native Jeff Teague paced the Hawks with 21 points and seven assists. Josh Smith had 15 points and Al Horford scored 14 in the defeat, and neither was a factor in the second half.

"We need to play a whole lot better," said Hawks forward Kyle Korver. "We can't foul them like that and we gave up a lot of offensive rebounds."

The Hawks will try to level the series when the Pacers host game two on Wednesday.

bb/mdl

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130421/nba-georges-triple-double-lifts-pacers-over-hawks-0