Paul George

Pacers are doing an awful lot of finger pointing


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.

George in his postgame press conference, via ASAP Sports:

Q.  You mentioned that maybe you need to watch what you say.  Do you think that Lance’s comments took him out of the game at all today?  He was scoreless until about almost halfway through the third quarter.
PAUL GEORGE:  Yeah, maybe so.  You know, maybe so.  When you make comments regarding trash talking and just being caught up between another player in a matchup, you got to bring it.  You got to bring it.
I’m pretty sure a lot of people were going to be tuned in to see what Lance was going to do because of what he said.  Maybe there’s a lot of pressure on him.  And everybody goes through situations where you just struggle.  Just because of what was said and what was done, it just wasn’t a good time for him.

Roy Hibbert, who went scorless, via Brian Windhorst of ESPN:

“The game plan really wasn’t to utilize me as much; I’m just trying to be effective as I can,” Hibbert said. “Would I like a little bit more touches early on? Yeah. But that’s how the cookie crumbles sometimes.”

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.

Somebody looks comfortable: Paul George drops 20 in first quarter

Leave a comment

Paul George‘s first experience starting as a power forward was going up against Anthony Davis — not just one of the best power forwards in the game, one of the handful of best players in the game period. That didn’t go well for George, and he wasn’t happy about it.

His second experience was in another preseason game Tuesday, going up against the Pistons and their four, Ersan İlyasova. He’s not quite as intimidating.

George scored 20 points on 7-of-8 shooting, 4-of-5 on threes — and that was just the first quarter (you can see it all in the video above).

As we have said before, George at the four is not a bad call by the Pacers, but some of that depends on the matchup. On the nights the Pacers face Davis or Blake Griffin or LaMarcus Aldridge or Zach Randolph (or a handful of others) the Pacers’ coaching staff is going to have to adjust. But there are a lot of nights where George at the four is going to force the other team to adjust, and that will play into the Pacers’ hands.

Is DeMarcus Cousins MVP worthy? “It’s mine to grab”

DeMarcus Cousins

Last season, DeMarcus Cousins received zero MVP votes (the same as every year of his career). Even though he averaged 24.1 points, and 12.7 rebounds a game, which was enough to get him his first All-Star berth, MVP is another thing entirely. Only players on winning teams tend to draw the attention of MVP voters.

This season, can Cousins — arguably the best center in the game — get in the conversation?

He thinks it’s more than just that, he told Kevin Ding at Bleacher Report.

The topic is the 2015-16 NBA MVP award and whether it could be reachable for DeMarcus Cousins.

“Reachable, man?” Cousins told Bleacher Report, his voice rising high. “It’s mine to grab.”

As noted above, the only way Cousins gets into the conversation — fair or not — is if the Kings are in the playoffs (at the very least). He understands that.

“It’s going to take a full team effort,” Cousins said. “I’ll try to play at a high level and bring my team along with me.”

Vlade Divac built a Kings’ team designed to start winning now — as you would expect from a team a year away from moving into a new arena they need to fill. Owner Vivek Ranadive is not about selling hope anymore, he wants to sell wins.

I think Cousins can help provide that.

I’m less sold on the cast around him being able to help.