The Pacers’ Paul George had to know he was getting fined when he said this after Game 4 Monday night:
“Looking at the stat sheet, we outplayed them. You got to give them credit. They won this game at the free‑throw line. They really just were able to get to the line more than we were, but I thought we outplayed them tonight….
“But, again, they made 30 free throws, and that put them over the edge. I mean, you can’t tell me we don’t attack the basket as much as they attack the basket. You can’t tell me we’re not aggressive. Maybe we’re too aggressive. But I feel like we’re just as aggressive as they are attacking the basket and making plays at the rim. Maybe this was just home cooking.”
The league gave George what was expected Tuesday, hitting him with a $25,000 fine for “public criticism of the officiating.” George knew that was coming and probably should have brought his checkbook to the press conference to save time.
What George probably didn’t expect was the media and fan backlash against his comments.
George and the Pacers didn’t attack the rim like the Heat did — four of George’s 16 shots came within eight feet of the rim. George had zero drives that started outside 20 feet and got inside 10 feet for a shot (LeBron James had 11). The list goes on with George and the Pacers.
The Heat got 17 more free throw attempts in Game 4 for the same reason the Pacers got 22 more in Game 1 — they were the aggressors. In the NBA the team that attacks gets to the line, the Pacers have not done that the past couple games. The Pacers defense has allowed the Heat a ridiculous 111.5 points per 100 offensive rating this series. That is the problem, not the referees.
Frank Vogel is trying to get his team focused back on the game for Game 4.
The question is will it even matter at this point? The Pacers have not been a consistently focused team since about the All-Star break.