While the game will be between the Miami Heat and the Indiana Pacers, I wanted to look at one match up that I’m very interested to see, Lebron James and Paul George. I think this would be the great chance for Paul George to show off how far he’s come this season in his role on the Pacers. There’s no doubt he’s had a fantastic year, but so far this month, he’s been off a bit. He’s hit for 8 and 9 points in the past two games after a month of December in which he hit for double figures just about every game out. This game tonight is one that I would love to have Danny Granger in as he’s always been known to step up a bit more when the spotlight is brighter. Look at the playoff round last season against the Heat where I thought he kept the Pacers going. But tonight is Paul George’s chance to showcase what he can do.
He will have the challenge of guarding Lebron James, which means this is a time to show how far defensively he’s come along. Coach Frank Vogel has praised Paul George for his defensive ability. He’s got length that can get a hand in his man’s face. He’s good on pressuring on the ball, but he hasn’t met a man like Lebron James. James is just a beast who can do it all. I think this is something that can hopefully inspire George to break out of the small slump he’s been in.
Hopefully the friendly confines of Banker’s Life Field House will give George that extra piece of energy he’ll need for tonight’s match up against James. He’s going to have to hit his own shots and possibly do it in all sorts of ways. I’ve said this could be like the Chicago Bulls game where he went off for 34 points, a game after going scoreless. If George can produce, the Pacers will be in good shape. But George has to bring it tonight. If I was Coach Vogel, I would be inspiring him as much as I could to amp him up. Get in George’s head that this is his time to break out, and show everyone that he’s ready for that next step. All the fans believe in George and want him to take that next step, tonight could be a leap if he plays the way he’s been playing. Time to get back to that form of December in the new year. This could be Paul George’s night.