George began Indiana’s final possession with the ball, but a late double-team forced him to pass to guard CJ Miles, whose 14-foot attempt drew iron to end the game.
“I talked to CJ about it,” George said following the team’s 109-108 loss. “In situations like that, I gotta get the last shot. I was asking for it. CJ took it upon himself.”
“In situations like that, I gotta get the last shot,” Paul George, right, said of the final seconds of Game 1. Jeff Haynes/NBAE via Getty Images
“Obviously, we wanted to get the ball to Paul to be able to get the shot to win the game,” Miles said. “I got the ball at four [seconds], so I had to take it myself. I got a good shot. I just didn’t make it.”
George added that he trusts Miles, but he’d rather be the one to take the last shot.
“I’m confident in all my guys taking shots — that’s not the issue,” George explained. “But in that situation, I’ve gotta get that.”
Although George, who finished with a team-high 29 points, didn’t like Miles’ decision to shoot, Pacers coach Nate McMillan said he can live with the outcome.
“CJ had a pretty decent look,” Pacers coach Nate McMillan said. “We have to make that shot.”
Cleveland’s LeBron James, who was the second man on the double-team that forced George to give up the ball, said he thinks the Pacers star made the right basketball decision.
“I can only speak for myself. When you’re doubling me, I’m giving it up. That’s me,” James said. “I don’t know how everybody else feels about that, but if you get a double, I think we all know math in here: There’s two guys on the ball, and that means there’s a 4-on-3. You have your numbers. So if you’re the best player on the floor, that doesn’t mean you have to take the shot. I think he made the right play, and you live with the results.”
Indiana will get a chance to even the series in Game 2 on Monday night in Cleveland.