There’s no coincidence that during this roller coaster ride the Indiana Pacers have been on in these NBA Playoffs, that all-star forward, Paul George, has been on a roller coaster ride of his own. The Pacers need a much more consistent George if they’re to have any chance of beating the Miami Heat, and more than likely, the San Antonio Spurs in the NBA Finals.
Now, that George has been cleared to play in tonight’s Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals, it’s time for him to become the consistent leader that he’s shown flashes of being for the Indiana Pacers.
Most of the attention during the playoffs has been on center, Roy Hibbert. Not George. Hibbert, has played much better over the last few games, after a terrible end to the regular season and start to the playoffs, making it a lot easier to focus on George.
In the series against the Atlanta Hawks, a series that shouldn’t have gone more than 5 games, George got to a rough start. He did, however, finish the series with 30 points in Game 6 to keep the Pacers season alive, then he scored 24 in the clincher. Against the Washington Wizards, it was another slow start before picking up his play in games 3 and 4 at Washington. In Game 4, George scored 39 points to help the Pacers, virtually put that series away.
It’s no coincidence, that in Game 1 against Miami, the Pacers won and George scored 24 points. Game 2? George scores 14 and you guessed it. The Pacers lose. It’s also no coincidence, that so far in the playoffs, the Pacers have won only twice when George has scored less than 23 points. Those came in Game 2 vs Washington, when Hibbert scored 28 points and the other was the Game 6 blowout win over the Wizards. Two games where it didn’t matter as much that George had sub-par outings.
Bottom Line: The Pacers have to have a productive George to go up against Miami’s ‘Big 3’. Of course, George will need all the help he can get. Lance Stephenson had a breakout game in Game 2, but will back up that performance? David West, virtually saved the Pacers against the Wizards, but how consistent will he be? Then, there’s always the question of what Roy Hibbert decides to show up. The Pacers mission is simple. Win one in Miami to regain the home court advantage they earned in the regular season. To do it, the Pacers will need the real Paul George to stand up. The same Paul George that came on the scene this time last season, on this same stage against these same Miami Heat. ………………..