The Pacers were able to erase Cleveland’s 10-point lead coming into the fourth quarter and had a chance to steal the postseason opener, but CJ Miles missed a 14-point jumper just before the buzzer and the Pacers lost 109-108.
“I talked to CJ about it,” George said at the podium after the game. “In situations like that, I got to get the last shot.”
Pacers' Paul George on final possession in Game 1 loss vs. Cavaliers: "Situations like that, I've got to get the last shot." pic.twitter.com/nZIud7OvCU
— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) April 15, 2017
It is clear that George is frustrated, and he has the right to be. After dropping six straight games heading into the All-Star break, the Pacers were able to recollect themselves and finish the season on a five-game winning streak. But they have been inconsistent at best and with an injury-ridden roster, George has had to put the team on his back on multiple occasions.
George hasn’t been shy about his role on the team. He has mentioned that he should be getting the last look for the Pacers on multiple occasions. After blowing a six point lead and losing to Minnesota on March 28, George said that “I don’t think I got the ball enough down the stretch.” George also told the Indianapolis Star that he felt his team had “no urgency” and “no winning pride.” He continued by saying that he felt that he was the only one on the team that was adequately “pissed” about the Pacers performance.
And he saw the same problem on Saturday.
The question becomes, is George’s “I need to be the man” attitude, warranted or not, what Larry Bird wants his roster built around? There have been reports that the Pacers will be testing the trade waters with George in the offseason and try to rebuild around Myles Turner. Indiana has at least three more games to decide.
George finished Saturday’s game with 29 points. The Pacers will try to level the series at one apiece on Monday.