INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - The voting wasn't even close.
Pacer small forward Paul George was named the NBA's most Improved Player, and coming off his most impressive playoff game to date, the timing could not be better.
George posted the franchises' second ever triple-double to lead Indiana past Atlanta in game one of their playoff series.
George said he dedicated his off-season to getting better, especially after struggling so badly in the season-ending series with Miami last spring.
"Going into the summer, my whole off-season work was dedicated to that Miami series," George said. "‘I just felt like I didn't carry my weight offensively, so coming into this year, I wanted to be a threat. One of the things I knew I needed to work on was ball-handling. I wasn't confident in making plays off the dribble, and that was the whole preparation going into the summer."
Coach Frank Vogel added that the Pacers would be where they are today without George's dedication and work ethic.
"Paul has been one of our most diligent workers. He left last season saying coach, I'm going to work as hard as I ever have, I'm going to come back a completely different player, just wait and see, you'll be impressed," Vogel said. "I have. He's had a terrific season, but most important is his commitment to playing winning basketball. With his defensive instincts and talent, he could lead the league in steals, but he chooses to play disciplined. The city of Indianapolis and or whole organization should be gushing with pride to have such a selfless rising star."
George put up career high numbers in scoring and rebounding, and added that when Danny Granger went down with an injury, he knew this was his time to become the go-to player.
He's also the fourth Pacer to earn the Most Improved Award, following Granger in 2009, Jermaine O'Neal in 2002 and Jalen Rose in 2000.
Carmel High School took over the Colts Complex for a night Thursday.
Avon Police Department and Avon Community School Corp. are investigating photos sent from female students to male students, police officials said.
Matt Painter has Purdue on the upswing, and they head into Saturday's Crossroads Classic clash with Butler on a 3-game winning streak. The goal? Win the school's first game in the elite doubleheader.