Paul George Needs to Lock Down Lebron James


Feb 1 2013; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Miami Heat forward LeBron James (6) defends Indiana Pacers forward Paul George (24) at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Indiana defeats Miami 102-89. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Let the Miami and Indiana hype machine begin.  These two teams are meeting up tomorrow night in what should be an exciting night of basketball. I expect the intensity to be up because I know the Pacers want to stop this hot streak of the Heat.  I know the Heat want to put away the pesky Pacers team that gave them their last loss.  So throughout the weekend, there will be different previews for this enticing game.  Right now, let’s look at one of the key one on one battles between Lebron James and Paul George.

This could be where the game is won or lost. If Paul George can’t slow down Lebron James, it will be a long night for the Pacers.  George has always been put on the best offensive player for the other team, therefore his assignment tomorrow night is Lebron James.  No one can totally stop Lebron at the rate he is going, but hopefully George and the rest of the team can slow him down.  The first two games have been interesting to watch between these two guys.

In that first game, Paul George got the better of Lebron James.  He put up 29 points on his way to leading the team to victory.  He also stayed right in Lebron’s face as Lebron shot 20 times to get to 22 points.  That’s the kind of defensive effort it’s going to take tomorrow to put the Pacers in that prime position to sweep the season series.  Lebron went off in the second match up as he got 28 points on a better shooting night.  So one to one in that match up, and we’ll see who gets the better end of it tomorrow night.

I know Paul George uses this match up as more of a measuring stick to see where he is.  I think George has the tools to be that type of player James is, therefore, he needs to mimic his game, and hope he’s just as good player as Lebron.  Lebron is thinking this is just another game, but there has to be some part of him that really wants to win this.  He talked about the way the Pacers were yapping about how they almost took out the Heat last year, so I would believe any sort of competitive nature in Lebron will pump him up for this tomorrow night.  Especially given that the Pacers have this series won in a way since they’ve won the first two games.  But I know the Pacers want to send a message, and getting that win tomorrow night could really drive this team home.

They won’t catch the Heat for first place, but come playoff time, these two teams look to be on a collision course for the Conference Finals with the way the playoffs are stacked now.  You can’t tell me that won’t be an intense and intriguing match up.  Just look at how intense these two games have been.  Then add in if the Pacers have a chance to go to the NBA Finals for the first time since 2000, there’s going to be blood, sweat, and tears there.  Tomorrow night will be the season finale for these two teams, but if things play out right, we’ll get more of this what’s shaping into a rivalry come playoff time.