Paul George isn’t happy with the Indiana Pacers right now.
His team sits in an 0-2 hole against the Cleveland Cavaliers after Monday’s 117-111 loss, a defeat which followed a similar pattern to one over the weekend—the Pacers clawed back from behind, only to get denied late.
After the game, George took exception to Lance Stephenson’s emotional outburst on the court, as captured by ESPN.com’s Dave McMenamin:
“He’s got to learn to control himself and be in the moment,” George said. “Lance, in our locker room, is looked upon as a leader. His body language has to improve — just for the team. We all know that Lance is an emotional guy. A lot of it is his heart and his competitiveness. That emotion comes out of him. He’s got to channel that toward making effort plays on the court and doing whatever he needs for us to succeed.”
Stephenson is a big reason the Pacers finished the year hot, yet found himself targeted and called for repeated fouls Monday before slamming the ball.
George also wanted to see more from center Myles Turner:
“We just need him to challenge Tristan [Thompson], keep him off the boards,” George said of the 21-year-old Turner. “He needs to make himself available down low in the post. He needs to know at this point he has to take it to the next level. We’ll continue to work with him.
It’s a valid point of irritation—Turner scored six points and only grabbed five rebounds while the Pacers lost the battle on the glass.
These sorts of comments wouldn’t normally be too concerning from George. But he’s made it clear he wants to win titles and the Pacers don’t exactly look like a contending team right now.
If this keeps up, the Pacers will either need to find a way to prove to George this offseason the team is serious about title hunting, or risk losing him.