Facing elimination, the Indiana Pacers needed Paul George to play like the player he was during the early part of the NBA season. Tonight in Game 5 against the Miami Heat, he did just that. George had 37 huge points to go along with six steals and six rebounds. George made a recent claim that the Pacers outplayed the Heat in Game 4, and took his frustration out during tonight’s contest.
George has had a rough 2014 with off-the-court and on-the-court issues, and he hasn’t had many moments similar to tonight on a frequent basis. When George plays at this level, this Pacers team is a force to be reckoned with. From hitting timely three-pointers to making key plays on the defensive side of the ball, George’s fingerprints were all over this game.
The Pacers have to soak in the victory, and focus on the next game in Miami. Tonight, the Pacers had the luxury of facing a Heat team with LeBron James in foul trouble for majority of the game. Though James was in foul trouble, the Pacers didn’t take advantage until the third quarter.
The third quarter is always a telling part of the a game of this magnitude. George teamed up with Lance Stephenson to lead a surge where the Pacers outscored the Heat 31-15 in the quarter. The Pacers did what they were supposed to do, and protected home court for the second time in three games at home. The next task at hand will be a little more tedious as the Pacers have to go into Miami to have the same outcome. They have yet to win a game in the Eastern Conference Finals in Miami, and in order to stay alive, the Pacers will need another encore performance from George.
The Pacers were on life support prior to the game, but now thanks to Paul George, they have a pulse.