The Pacers lost to the Cavs again on Monday, falling into a 2-0 hole in the first round series. Once again, Indiana star Paul George called out a teammate after the loss. This time, the subject was Lance Stephenson.
Pacers' Paul George after Game 2 loss to Cavs: "[Lance Stephenson] has to learn to control himself… His body language has to improve." pic.twitter.com/vf301J85ZI
— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) April 18, 2017
“He’s got to learn to control himself. He’s got to learn to just be in the moment. Lance is, in our locker room, is looked upon as a leader, one of our leaders. So his body language has to improve. Just for the team. We all know Lance is an emotional guy. A lot of it is just his heart and his competitiveness, that emotion comes out. But he’s just got to channel that and put it towards making effort plays on the court and doing whatever he needs for us to succeed.”
Stephenson joined the Pacers at the end of March, but he previously spent the first four years of his career with the franchise until he signed with Charlotte in 2014. Playing alongside George, Stephenson helped Indiana to two Eastern Conference Finals appearances, but they lost to the LeBron James and the Miami Heat both times.
Stephenson scored 13 points in Monday’s loss, but he also got called for four fouls. The frustration started to mount up, and at one point Pacers coach Nate McMillan had to tell him to calm down.
He told Lance to calm down ? pic.twitter.com/iizsyws9ip
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) April 18, 2017
Not that George has stepped out of line, but this is the second game in a row where he’s criticized a teammate publicly. Veteran shooting guard C.J. Miles missed a potential game-winner at the end of Game 1, and George expressed his desire to get the last shot. After all, he is the all-star averaging north of 30 points per game this month, and he had 29 points on 9-for-19 shooting to that point in Game 1.
George went off again in Game 2 for 32 points, eight rebounds and seven assists, but it wasn’t enough as the Pacers fell 117-11 to the Cavs. They head home to Indianapolis in a 2-0 hole.
When talking about Stephenson, George isn’t really stepping out of line. He’s just answering the reporter’s question that specifically asked about Stephenson’s on-court antics. He also paid Stephenson a pretty big compliment by calling him a leader, considering Stephenson has been in the locker room for only a few weeks.