Paul George sheds light on comments: ‘I said that only to motivate my teammates’
Upon a last-second loss in Game 1 against the Cleveland Cavaliers, George insisted he should be the one to get the ball in the last seconds of a game and take the shot after teammate C.J. Miles had a good look to win the game from roughly 18-feet out.
Most recently, he criticized Lance Stephenson for not controlling his emotions in Game 2, when Stephenson’s fire is actually one of the fuel-injecting reasons the Pacers were able to make the playoffs.
“It’s complete ignorance, to be honest,” George told Michael Marot of the Toronto Metro News. “Everybody knows how close I am with my teammates and I said that only to motivate my teammates to win this series and win a championship. I didn’t say anything even close to throwing them under the bus. If I didn’t say nothing, it would have been another story.”
George has been rumored to be setting the table for leaving the franchise after his actions the last two games. While the comments do come off critical, they in no way seem mean-spirited or have an ulterior motive to them, just sheer frustration and willingness to change things for the better.
“In situations like that, our guys are free to speak and talk about situations like that,” head coach Nate McMillan said. “You challenge your guys, your teammates. We believe in each other, we trust in each other and it was not a situation like there were hurt feelings in the locker room.”
Miles was understanding of his frustration and claimed “he should want the last shot” but also doubled down on his belief that he took the right decision by taking that shot as the clock winded down.
Stephenson was supportive of George and reinforced his tight-knit relationship with him, claiming there were no hurt feelings.
“When someone is scoring on you and you show frustration, they’re going to keep going at you and I think that’s what Paul was talking about,” Stephenson said after calling George his brother.
“I didn’t lose no sleep over it. I never do. Sometimes players just say things differently than coaches,” George said. “Everybody knows we (Stephenson and I) have a strong relationship. I didn’t say anything that’s going to cause any friction. We need Lance. He’s a leader in the locker room and we feed off his energy.”