|Heat Win Game 3 114-96|
Paul George is growing up before our eyes. I mean this kid seems to be the next superstar in the making. Problem is, when your in the Eastern Conference Finals against LeBron James & Dwyane Wade, your learning curve becomes much shorter and you must gain experience on the fly.
The Pacers and Paul George had to be taught a terrible, but necessary lesson when it comes to playing on the NBA's "Big Stage". When you have the Champ against the ropes, you have to knock him out! The Pacers did not go for the knockout. They were comfortable in their surroundings at home and expected to get a victory last night. Obviously that did not work and the Pacers ended up being knocked out and I just don't mean game 3, I am talking about the whole series. This series is over. Whether it is in 5, 6 or 7 games, Indy will not beat the Heat 3 times in 4 games. It is not happening.
Paul George deserves the blame for game 3 solely because he did not recognize the moment that "Superstars" take matters into their own hands and take their game to the next level. Paul George did the complete opposite in the Pacers Game 3 loss at home to the defending champion Heat. Only coming up with 13 points total including only 4 points at halftime. Going head -to-head with LeBron James, you flat out have to be better than that. As encouraging as Paul George played LeBron in the first 2 games of the series, George obviously did not anticipate LeBron throwing in a wrinkle or two to make George's defensive less effective. James brought the young boy down to the post and destroyed him. When LeBron's post game is going like that, it is virtually impossible to beat the Heat. If you have to double team him, there are nothing but shooters around the perimeter. So as if getting bullied in the paint wasn't enough to deal with, Paul George was ineffective offensively. He did not make James and Wade work on defense. He passed up shot after shot after shot only going 3 for 10 from the field. Yes Roy Hibbert and David West scored the basketball scoring 20 & 21 respectively, but Paul George adds a dynamic to the Pacers offense that takes them from an average offensive team to a team can almost score at will. When Paul George is scoring it opens things up for his big boys in the post. In game 3 the paint was crowded and Hibbert & West earned all 41 of their combined points.
Paul George did not respond well to challenge of competing with the world champs in game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals. It will cost the Pacers a chance at appearing in the NBA Finals. When you are on the big stage, you can not take a night off from being great. The Pacers might win another game, they could possibly win two, but the Heat has this series wrapped up. It just a matter of how bad and how fast they want to close this series out.