The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Sports Columns

May 27, 2013

Mike Lopresti: Time for George to answer call

INDIANAPOLIS — For Paul George, duty calls. The duty of a star, and the duty of a leader. When the skies are suddenly darkening, what does a team need? A big game from its big gun.

That is where the Indiana Pacers are at the moment. The Miami Heat blew through Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Sunday as if Tony Kanaan was driving them. They lead the series now 2-1, and another Pacers loss at home in Game 4 tonight would probably be fatal.

“Real mandatory,” George called it Monday.

Real correct. That comes down to simple math and logic. Is it possible to imagine the Heat blowing a 3-1 advantage, with two of the games in Miami? Not hardly. So the biggest crossroads of the postseason to date beckons Indiana, and its leading man knows it.

“If we want to be in their position, we’ve got to show where we’re at,” George was saying. “It’s going to show what we’re made of.”

Added coach Frank Vogel, “We saw what Miami looked like with their backs against the wall. Now it’s our turn to show what we look like with our backs against the wall.”

This is when a star must deliver, with points and defense and anything else needed. This is always LeBron James’ time, and Tim Duncan’s time, and Kobe Bryant’s time. It must be George’s time.

“I put a lot on me. I always try to be a leader,” George said. “This is just another level for me to grow from.”

Sunday was bad news for George at both ends. Offensively, unable to penetrate much against a Miami defense stacked to slow him down, he was 3-for-10 shooting and produced only 13 points. Quiet. Too quiet. All five Miami starters scored more than that.

What happened on defense was even worse. James took him inside, posted him up, scored when he wanted to. Slow to help, George’s teammates too often left him alone on an island with James. In the playoffs, it’d be safer to be left alone on an island with a starving tiger.

“He has to know they’re there,” George said of James and his helpers. “If he’s getting five or six dribbles, it’s tough to guard that. But it starts with me. I’ve got to do a better job battling.”

Another night of defense like Sunday just won’t do. Indiana had allowed its opponents a scoring average of 90.6 in its first 14 postseason games. Miami had 91 in Game 3 — at the end of three quarters. The Heat were so unfazed by whatever the Pacers were trying to do to stop them, they had but five turnovers.

It left George delivering a short homily on the trials and tribulations of playing the Heat.

“We can’t allow that in our home,” he said. “We’re playing the defending champions. You let them get comfortable, it’s going to be a long night.

“To come out and know that we were going to get their best, to know that we were going to see why they’re champions, to really test them on that note, it was disappointing. That’s how champions come out and play. That’s how they respond. Now it’s on us.”

And he understands, now it’s on him. If you’re the main man for a contender, every night in the playoffs is crunch time. No Pacer might be having to grow this spring more than Paul George.

“There’s no way I should be tired or get tired, or not want to be in the moment at this time,” he said. “We still get to play basketball. That’s something we should be very proud of at this point.”

Tonight might go a long way in determining how much longer they get to play basketball.

1
Text Only
Sports Columns
  • Rick Bramwell: Improving weather should aid morels When I looked at my wilted daffodils Tuesday morning, I knew this would be a setback for morels. The long-range forecast through April 29 calls for near normal temperatures and above normal precipitation. This is good news for the blacks and grays.

    April 16, 2014

  • SPL - PT041014 - Ken de la Bastide column - Ken sig Ken de la Bastide: Hunter-Reay's blunder proves costly A lack of patience cost Ryan Hunter-Reay and teammate James Hinchcliffe a chance at victory last weekend in the Verizon IndyCar Series race at Long Beach.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Angie Colip: Bowling week filled with perfection Congratulations to Trent Jarvis for rolling two perfect games in eight days. Jarvis shot his 19th perfect game in the TNT league on March 31. He finished out his night with a 784 series.

    April 10, 2014

  • Pendleton Heights held Heritage Christian scoreless PENDLETON — With three losses in their first three games, the Pendleton Heights Arabians baseball team was ready for a break-out win. On Thursday, the Arabians jumped all over visiting Heritage Christian to take a 10-0, five inning win at Bill Stoudt Field.

    April 10, 2014

  • Rick Bramwell: Morel season just around corner

    Winter was long, spring has not sprung and I am thinking this will be one of the best morel seasons in a long time.

    April 10, 2014

  • Rick Teverbaugh: HB trying a different area approach All right, we're going to try this once again. Apparently our plan to have our area coaches use emails and faxes to get results to us wasn't exactly a smashing success.

    April 9, 2014

  • Ken de la Bastide: Chase Elliott making headlines This past weekend at Texas Motor Speedway the two NASCAR races were won by some of the younger drivers in the Nationwide and Sprint Cup series.

    April 8, 2014

  • George Bremer: Spring brings renewed hope Bobby Abreu laced a line drive single into right-center field Thursday night. Not really a noteworthy feat for a 17-year Major League Baseball veteran with 2,437 career hits. But the venue was unique — Cashman Field in Las Vegas, home of the Triple-A Las Vegas 51s.

    April 7, 2014

  • AU baseball sweeps HCAC doubleheader

    The Anderson University baseball team swept conference rival Franklin College Saturday. The Ravens won the first game 3-2 and the second contest 12-11.

    April 5, 2014

  • SPT - HB0320 - Teverbaugh mug Rick Teverbaugh: Already time to scrap baseball replay The new replay system being used by Major League Baseball is an abject failure and should be scrapped immediately. Is that too quick and too harsh an assessment of this high-tech boondoggle that has been in place for only a week? No and no.

    April 5, 2014 1 Photo

AP Video
Michael Phelps Set to Come Out of Retirement Raw: UConn Celebrates for Second Straight Night UConn Women Win NCAA Basketball Championship Raw: Workers at Brazil Olympic Park on Strike Some Arrests As Fans Celebrate UConn Win UConn Wins NCAA Men's Basketball Championship UConn Wins NCAA Men's Basketball Champsionship Connecticut, Kentucky Fans React to NCAA Win Connecticut, Kentucky Meet for the Title AP Player of Year: Creighton's Doug McDermott Fearsome Final Foursome Head to North Texas College Athletes Take Labor Cause to Washington Northwestern Practices After Union Ruling Woods Has Back Surgery, Will Miss the Masters Raw: Obama, 'Big Papi' of Red Sox Take Selfie Raw: LA Angels Don Baylor Suffers Leg Injury Seahawks, Sounders Visit Town Near Mudslide Milwaukee Brewers' Adopted Mascot Is Big Hit Tigers' Cabrera Gets Record $292M, 10-year Deal Dayton, Florida, Arizona, Wisconsin in Elite 8
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Poll

Should the Pacers match Portland's offer sheet to center Roy Hibbert?

Yes, Hibbert is important to the team and the community
No, four years and $58 million is too much
Not sure, I like Hibbert but think the money could be better spent elsewhere
     View Results