The Indiana Pacers haven’t gotten off to the greatest start this season, sitting at 15-17 overall, half a game back of the Milwaukee Bucks for the eighth playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. After Monday’s 90-85 loss to the Chicago Bulls, Paul George said he thinks his team is the “little brother” of the NBA.
In the loss to the Bulls, George scored 14 points in 39 minutes, but was frustrated by the absence of fouls he thought should have been called in favor of the Pacers.
“I’ve been fined multiple times,” George told reporters. “I’ve been vocal to the point where the league issues [a statement], ‘Hey, we missed a call. Hey, we missed that.’ Officials do it during games [saying], ‘I missed that call, I missed this call. We’re sorry. We’re sorry.'”
“It’s getting repetitive. They see it, they know what’s going on. They know what’s a foul. They know what’s not a foul. It comes down from somewhere else how these games are going, I believe.”
These complaints from George were interesting and came at an interesting time. On Monday, word came out that in the new NBA CBA, players can call a hotline to complain to the league about officiating.
After his initial comments about the refs in the loss to the Bulls, George was asked if he thinks his situation would be different if he played for a big-market team.
“Since I’ve been in this jersey we’ve always fought this battle,” George said. “Ever since I’ve been playing, ever since I’ve been in this jersey we’ve fought this battle. Maybe the league has teams they like so they can give them the benefit of the doubt. We’re the little brother of the league. We’re definitely the little brother of the league.”
George, 26, was drafted by the Pacers with the 10th overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft out of Fresno State. Before the longtime Pacer made his comments, head coach Nate McMillan made it clear he’s also frustrated with the league’s officiating.
“We only shot 10 free throws,” McMillan told reporters. “Paul shot one free throw the entire game [and] played 39 minutes. This is the second game where he’s getting a lot of grabbing, a lot of holding. [Bulls swingman] [Jimmy] Butler shoots 12 free throws tonight. [Opponents] are getting away with a lot of grabbing on Paul. [The referees] got to call the game both ways.”
This season, George is averaging 4.5 free throw attempts per game, which is actually higher than his 4.1 free career free throw attempt average.
“It’s not even superstar treatment,” McMillan said. “He’s playing — call it fair. I’m not talking about superstar treatment. With those guys, you got to be aggressive [defensively]. The players that are really good in the league, you got to be aggressive and you play physical, and that’s the way [opponents] play him. He’s not getting any calls. I think it’s ridiculous that he plays 39 minutes and he shoots one free throw. [The Bulls] shoot 28 free throws, we shoot 10. They got to call the touching and that physical play on both ends.”
With the new developments in a ref hotline for players in the new CBA, it’ll be interesting to see if the NBA fines George and McMillan for their comments.