Cleveland Cavaliers superstar LeBron James might have criticized Indiana Pacers’ Paul George after the latter’s rant about taking the last shot. George was unhappy that his teammate, C.J. Miles, was the one who went for what could have been a game-winning jumper. Miles missed his attempt and they lost, 109-108.
The final possession in the game belonged to the Pacers who had 10 seconds to try and win it. As expected, the ball ended up in the hands of George. Cleveland’s defense quickly reacted with James and J.R. Smith going for a double team.
George, with nowhere to go, passed the ball to Miles with under five seconds on the game clock. Miles tried to attack but Cavaliers veteran Richard Jefferson stayed in front of him. He went for a fake to shake off Jefferson then took the shot. Unfortunately, he came up short and the final buzzer sounded. In a report by ESPN, George said he already spoke to Miles about what occurred.
“In situations like that, I gotta get the last shot. I was asking for it. CJ took it upon himself,” George said during the post-game press conference.
It appeared that George was really upset with Miles, although he explained further what he meant. The Pacers forward stated that he is “confident” with his teammates, but in those situations, he must have the ball.
George led all scorers for the Pacers as he tallied 29 points, also having five rebounds, seven assists, and one steal. The returning Lance Stephenson followed him as he added 16 points off the bench. “Born Ready” was the only reserve who scored in double-digits.
George could still be thinking about what happened in the Pacers’ Game 1 defeat, but James believes he should just accept it. Following the tough victory, the main man for the Cavaliers spoke about the botched play. He said if he was the one doubled, he is going to give up the ball.
“That’s me. I don’t know how everybody else feels about that, but if you get a double, I think we all know math in here: There’s two guys on the ball, and that means there’s a 4-on-3. You have your numbers. So if you’re the best player on the floor, that doesn’t mean you have to take the shot. I think he made the right play, and you live with the results,” James continued.
As of this moment, George is yet to respond to the comments made by James. Hopefully, this motivates the face of the franchise for the Pacers.
George and the Pacers have a terrible history with James in the playoffs. Before “King James” rejoined the Cavaliers, he and the Miami Heat eliminated Indiana in the postseason for three consecutive years (2012-2014). Now, the four-time MVP looks to repeat this for Cleveland to move into the next round and come closer to another championship.
James emerged in the Cavaliers’ close win Saturday as he tallied 32 points, six rebounds, 13 assists, and three steals. His fellow Big Three members also had terrific scoring nights with Kyrie Irving contributing 23 points while Kevin Love had 17. Channing Frye was the best player from the bench for the reigning champions. The 33-year-old had 11 points, nine of those came from long range as he went 3-of-4 from beyond the arc.
Game 2 of the first-round series between the Cavaliers and Pacers takes place this Tuesday, still at the home of the champions the Quicken Loans Arena. The Cavaliers are eyeing a 2-0 lead before the series shifts to Indiana. This will be huge for them since they have struggled on the road in the regular season going 20-21.
[Featured Image by Tony Dejak/AP Images]