With 7:18 remaining, Paul George buried a 29-foot 3-pointer with the shot clock running out. This put the Pacers up by 4, and was yet another encouraging sign — after some free throws and an assist on a George Hill triple — that Indiana’s star might be ready to shake off a bad shooting game and finish strong. (video via CBS Sports)
About 30 seconds later, however, George and Dwyane Wade both fell going for a loose ball, and George suffered a concussion after Wade’s knee and then his foot smacked him in the head. There was a stoppage and, according to the Pacers, George showed no signs of being concussed.
After the game, however, he said that he “blacked out” and played the final 6:49 “blurry.”
He wouldn’t take another field goal in the game, scoring just 1 more point from the line (where he went 1-of-2). He committed a turnover, though it was a nice defensive deflection on a pass from George to a roll man that didn’t look any worse than many others he has thrown pre-concussion in this playoffs.
On the other end, however, he was not his regular defensively sound self.
He foolishly helped off LeBron James to aid George Hill, who was defending Wade (well) in the post, and got burnt by a James 3 when Wade kicked out and PG couldn’t recover to contest properly.
Even worse was his decision making on LeBron’s next hoop. After getting deterred by a screen, George deciding to jump a passing lane on a James ball fake, which left LeBron wide open 15 feet from the hoop. James, who had picked up his dribble, merely orchestrated a quick give-and-go for an uncontested layup.
Not long after, he lost James on simple screen during an rudimentary out-of-bounds play, and LeBron made an open jumper.
How much did George’s head trauma have to do with his defensive lapses and inability to score? It’s impossible to know. He had shot 3-for-15 (20%) for the game prior to hitting the deep 3 that put Indiana up 4.
But we do know one thing: One of the best defensive wings in the NBA certainly wasn’t making good decisions late, as Miami made 7 of its last 10 shots to turn a 4-point deficit into a 4-point win.