There are no must win NBA games in December.
But if you’ve been a top team that has lost a couple of games in a row and is about to face a major test on national television, it can feel like that. So you can understand Paul George feels tonight’s anticipated showdown between the Pacers vs. Warriors, and he didn’t hold back in expressing that to the Indianapolis Star.
“Tonight is a must win for us,” he said. “We’re hungry for a win, especially losing the last one we lost, a game we should have won.”
PG13, you have been a joy to watch this season, and the resurgent Pacers are a great story. So please don’t take this the wrong way, but…
This is not the game you want to designate as a “must win.” First, you may not want to light a fire under Stephen Curry, who can shoot from the other side of the White River. The Warriors already are going to be focused for this one, as opposed to the slightly coasting, showing little hubris moments we have seen from them of late. Nothing that has jump up and bit them yet, but there could be cracks in the armor. However, focused Golden State is playing on a level higher than anyone else right now.
The Pacers, using Paul George at the four, are a fascinating matchup for the Warriors. On paper one of the few teams that should be able to challenge them a little in the small ball department. As Kevin Garnett once told us, “ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE.”
But must win? Not sure I’d go there.