Paul George spent more of his post-Game 4 press conference blaming the referees, but he also saved some shade for Lance Stephenson, who challenged LeBron before the game.
There’s a fine line between making excuses and offering explanations. After each game, the media asks players and coaches to explain what happened. If they give an honest explanation that isn’t liked, the media will skewer them for making excuses.
Stephenson was probably affected by his rift with LeBron, and it’s reasonable for George to be upset by that needless distraction. That doesn’t excuse George for playing so poorly.
The Pacers didn’t go to Hibbert much early, opting to milk the David West-Rashard Lewis matchup (maybe even too often bypassing sound offense to exploit that mismatch). That doesn’t excuse Hibbert for disappearing.
Indiana’s All-Stars can play better. The rest of their team – Frank Vogel included – can perform better, too.
Those facts should be more independent of each other than they are. Before addressing issues out of their control, George, Hibbert and every other Pacer should look in the mirror and do what they can first.
-- Dan Feldman, ProBasketballTalk