Paul George wanted to take the final shot on Saturday when the Indiana Pacers fell short against the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 1 of their first-round playoff matchup. He was so ticked about it, he aired his issues in the post-game press conference.
On the final possession of the contest, George had the ball with the Pacers trailing 109-108. He gave it up, expecting to get it back. Instead, C.J. Miles drove and pulled up for a 15-foot jumper that missed.
Here’s what George had to say about not getting the ball back:
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
Miles taking that shot was not ideal, so I get why George is a bit irked. That said, he never should have given the ball up.
George passed the ball away with 5.8 seconds left. Miles received it with 4.7 to go. If Miles doesn’t attack there, he could risk the Pacers not getting a shot off at all. George waited too long to make his move. As soon as he got the ball he should have driven on J.R. Smith. Instead, he dribbled up top, wasting valuable seconds and, in the process, gave LeBron James a chance to double team him. At that point, Miles’ only move was to take the shot.
George is Indiana’s best player and it’s not close. He’s a four-time All-Star, won a gold medal in Rio last summer and has been named Third Team All-NBA three times. The final play has to be set up for him in any late-game situation. But George is also a leader, and when things don’t work out it’s his job to keep the team together, not rip his teammates.
After the game Miles reportedly sat in front of his locker not moving and completely despondent for 30 minutes after missing the shot. He already feels awful about it, he doesn’t need his team’s best player piling on in a press conference.