Mar 28, 2013; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Mavericks shooting guard Vince Carter (25) shoots the ball over Indiana Pacers center Ian Mahinmi (28) and small forward Paul George (24) at the American Airlines Center. The Pacers defeated the Mavericks 103-78. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

NBA Playoffs Preview: Indiana Pacers Paul George: Time to Man Up

Apr 14, 2013; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks small forward Carmelo Anthony (7) shoots for three over Indiana Pacers small forward Paul George (24) during the first quarter at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

Well, the regular season is finished, and there will be recaps galore on that, but I want to get some playoff previewing going as well.  I mean the playoffs are where it all counts, so might as well get going in that direction.  You’re not judged on regular season awards and titles, but what are you doing in the playoffs.  Look at Reggie Miller, who actually looked better in the playoffs than the regular season.  Sure, he was good in the regular season, but what do we Pacer fans remember the most?  8 points in 9 seconds.  25 points in the fourth quarter.  Pushing off Michael Jordan for a game winner against the Chicago Bulls.  Maybe not a push off per se, but you know the Miller Move to get open.  Therefore, who do I look for this Pacers playoff run to step up and break out in the post season?  Well, by Paul George I think you know who.  Paul George is the one that you should be looking for.

With as good as Paul George has been this regular season, it’s time to step up even more.  He’s going to have to do it on both ends of the court for the Pacers to make this playoff run what it should be.  Anything less than a Conference Finals appearance will be a disappointment.  It won’t be easy getting there, but George and company have the talent to make that run. You know they step up against the better teams, and the better teams are here in the playoffs.  Going against the Atlanta Hawks should be a good way to build up the confidence level of George. I look for him to get around 20 points a game, and would be even better if he got 7 rebounds or more a game.  He’s got the skills to do that, but just hasn’t done it come playoff time. He shrinked away last year, and I believe this year will not be that way.

He’s been on such a roll, so there’s no reason to believe he’ll shy away from this moment.  Playing at home to start off should build up the excitement for George, and you know when I’ve called out guys they’ve come to play. So I’m calling out Paul George.  Time to continue the break out season he’s had.  Time to put on the Gold Swagger, and carry this team to the next round.  Getting off to a hot start is key for George.  If he looks to be aggressive and scoring, his defense will be on pace as well.  Look at what Frank Vogel had to say in this article on Grantland:

Interesting. By the way, I realize this is an unfair question almost, but if you had to pick one of your players to nominate for Defensive Player of the Year — and only one — do you pick Paul George or Roy Hibbert?

Paul, but it’s very close to even.”

If you have Frank Vogel preaching that about his own player, then I believe it. Roy Hibbert has been so good at deflecting balls in the post, but George is asked to defend the best player all night.  That’s got to wear on a guy, and you can tell that by who George has to defend.  Defense will be what truly carries the Pacers, and George will have to spark that.  I believe he’s ready to make that leap, and this playoffs will determine that.  The time is here, and the time is now for George to become THAT Pacers player.

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