Paul George felt it was his responsibility, not C.J. Miles’, to take the final shot in the Indiana Pacers’ 109-108 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 1 of their first-round playoff series.
“C.J. took it upon himself,” George said during his post-game press conference. “I'm confident in all my guys taking shots, that's not the issue. But in that situation like that, I've gotta get that."
PG, on the final possession: "I'm confident in all my guys taking shots, that's not the issue. But in that situation, I've gotta get that." pic.twitter.com/sU3xJ2U9Pt— Indiana Pacers (@Pacers) April 15, 2017
George gave the ball up after LeBron James came with a double team at the top of the three-point line.
But there were at least four seconds remaining after he made that pass. He even ran at Miles calling for the ball, but Miles dribbled in the opposite direction before pump-faking and missing a look at a game-winning buzzer beater.
PG said he spoke to Miles and told him he needs to take that last shot, according to Scott Sargent at Waiting For Next Year. George gave the ball up to get it back.
"I was asking for it,” George said. “I was trying to give it up to force them to scramble to the open man so I could get it back. At that time, it's not enough seconds on the clock for them to try to double team again.”
PG on demanding the last shot/asking team to be tougher: That shouldn't upset the locker room. You should want that out of the leader.— Nilla Nillanovic (@JayNilla) April 15, 2017
Paul George is right
George is the highest-paid player on the Pacers’ roster for a reason: He’s their go-to guy in moments like these. PG’s been to the Eastern Conference Finals twice against LeBron James. He even hit a triple to force overtime in Game 1 against James’ heat in 2013.
PG’s proven he comes up big when it matters. He hit a triple to cut the Cavaliers’ lead to just one on Indiana’s second-to-last possession.
C.J. Miles isn’t a scrub. George has confidence in him hitting that shot in the game’s first 47 minutes.
But when the game’s on the line, the buck stops with one Pacers player.
And that’s Paul George.