Indiana Pacers star fined by NBA for comments.
It is one thing to say you were unlucky to lose or that a defeat was harsh. It’s another thing entirely to claim you “outplayed” the opposition - and lose. Anyone who watched Miami Heat convincingly beat the Indiana Pacers in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals 102-90 has to wonder if they were watching the same game Paul George played in.
Looking down at the box score in his post-game conference, he claimed the stats justify his outlook (Indiana out rebounded 37-34 Miami and shot 49% from the field).
He lamented Miami’s 34 free throw attempts compared to just 17 for the Pacers and suggested there was ‘home cooking’ involved – the NBA fined him $25,000 for these comments.
In the very same press conference he lightly scolded teammate Lance Stephenson about talking out of place.
Paul George should’ve taken some of his own advice before making the comments that drew the wrath of the league office.
George turned in a decent performance, contributing 23 points on 8-16 shooting, but also turned over the ball a costly five times.
Roy Hibbert meanwhile had a fourth scoreless game in these playoffs, and he’s making excuses for that too. When asked about his lack of points he criticised the team’s strategy, saying
The game plan really wasn't to utilize me as much; I'm just trying to be effective as I can… I can only control what I can control," Hibbert said. "I can't control plays called for me."
Hibbert has struggled since February and whether or not the team’s offense should feature him more he is shirking responsibility. To blame it on the game plan – and, by association head coach Frank Vogel would be unfair on the third year coach who pushed his team to a 33-7 start in the regular season.
This will only add fuel to the “Pacers are soft” storyline, a storyline started by team president Larry Bird in 2012 in an apparent attempt to motivate them, and the yapping has allowed it to stick.
It’s a young team but they cannot use that as an excuse either. They must learn quickly that excuses amount to nothing, especially in the playoffs.