Scott Agness: Al Jefferson: "We got to figure it out, man. We can’t blame the coaches, we can blame the GM, we can’t blame the fans, we can’t blame nobody. We the ones out there. “There’s just no effort at all. And that’s something you got to have."
Less than 48 hours after the Indiana Pacers star challenged two more players in a postgame news conference, George fired back at the notion that he was not supportive of his team. "It's complete ignorance, to be honest," he said. "Everybody knows how close I am with my teammates and I said that only to motivate my teammates to win this series and win a championship. I didn't say anything even close to throwing them under the bus. If I didn't say nothing, it would have been another story."
The Pacers entered Tuesday in a three-way tie with the Atlanta Hawks and the Milwaukee Bucks for fifth place in the East. Both teams moved ahead of the Pacers, the Bucks defeating the Charlotte Hornets and the Hawks knocking off Phoenix. The eighth-place Miami Heat, who own the tiebreaker over Indiana, also beat the Detroit Pistons to move one game behind the Pacers. “We should have a professional approach, man, and defend our home court, especially to a team that’s not even in the playoffs,” George said of losing to the Timberwolves (29-44). “That’s what it comes down to. As a team, we’ve got to have a grit and we’ve got to own up, man up.”
“It’s tough losing a game here that we need knowing that we don’t play well on the road,” George said. “When we lose focus here, I’m not sure where our head is going to be as a team tomorrow. I’ll make sure to gather these guys around and let them understand, man, that we’ve got to win. That’s the only thing that’s important. The only thing that should be motivational is winning.”
Nate Taylor: Paul George: “There’s no urgency, no sense of urgency, no winning pride. This locker room is just not pissed off enough.”
Nate Taylor: Paul George: “To be honest, man, I don’t think I got the ball enough down the stretch. I don’t think I got the ball enough.”
Sirius XM NBA: "I don't listen to reports. He is our leader and we don't sense the frustration." -@Aaron Brooks on media reports on @Paul George's frustration
A. Sherrod Blakely: Paul George says the @Indiana Pacers are a "playoff team" at home and a "lottery team" on the road this season. #Celticstalk pic.twitter.com/fukNuR3bwl
Team president Larry Bird spent much of the day weighing the option of trading George to the Boston Celtics, a team that possesses several rotational players and valuable draft picks, including the lowly Brooklyn Nets’ first-round picks in the next two drafts. Ultimately, Bird decided not to deal George with the hope the franchise can convince him to re-sign after his expected opt-out at the end of the 2017-18 season.
George, though, said he was not pleased that Bird considered trading him after previously vowing to sign George to a max contract. “I was kind of on the ropes just like you guys were on what was about to happen,” George said of his emotions before the deadline. “It was kind of a dark moment of uncertainty and that was the frustrating part. You want me to be your guy here, I thought I would have been in the loop a little more on that.”
Paul George: "I kind of was on the ropes, just like you guys were, on what was about to happen;' George told reporters in Indianapolis. "It was kind of a dark moment of uncertainty. That was the frustrating part. You want me to be your guy here, thought I would have been in the loop a little more on (trade talks)."
Not too long ago the Pacers were the main threat in the Eastern Conference to LeBron James' Miami Heat, and Paul George was leading the way. But the roster that found success a few years ago is no more, and the team is on the fringe of the playoff picture instead of at the forefront. That kind of fall from grace can get to you, and George admitted Thursday it has. "[This season] hasn't been [fun]. We're trying to work through it," George told reporters. "It's been one of the most frustrating seasons I've been a part of."
"Maybe I'm just living in the past of how good we used to be, the personnel, the guys I had around," George said. "I'm still living in that moment, maybe. I gotta put myself into a different team and maybe I have to do more, maybe that's just what it is, maybe I have to do more now. But whatever is, I'm going to figure it out."
August 19, 2022 | 5:57 pm EDT Update
VINCENT GOODWILL: And, yeah, you guys, in Atlanta, you guys have made steps as far as improving your team, bringing in Dejounte Murray. That’s gonna be the best backcourt guy you’ve ever played with. How do you see that sort of pairing working, considering he’s been a point guard throughout his career, and both of you guys can probably play on or off the ball? TRAE YOUNG: Yeah, I mean that’s kind of scary, if you think about it. I mean, I think people don’t really understand, I mean, how dynamic of a backcourt that can be, I mean, with two guys who can score. I mean, both can score 20 plus. Both can get nine plus assists a game. You can’t really double one or the other, and if you do, you really pick your poison, because we have other weapons around. So it’s gonna be a fun season, and I think, I mean, having another guard, like Dejounte, who can playmake and that sort of thing, it’s gonna to be good for us.
VINCENT GOODWILL: Well, clearly, the archetype that people have always compared you to has been Stephen Curry. Was that inspiring for you to see him go back, and get back to the mountaintop, and do it the way he did it? TRAE YOUNG: Yeah, I mean, it was just as fine as when he won his first one by himself with KT, and I was in middle school and high school back then, so I remember being a kid watching him back then, and just being a fan then, and now. I mean, being in the league, going against him, I think our games are different, but they’re similar in certain areas, and I definitely want to be a champion, so he’s set the standard.
VINCENT GOODWILL: And now, just as your evolution as a player, you’ve grown, clearly. You had the most points and the most assists last year. Individually, how do you go into another season where you’re like, I accomplished all these things individually, but what are my goals individually for next season? TRAE YOUNG: I mean, to be honest with you, I never have individual goals going into the season. Like, I know, if we’re a top-three seed, I’m gonna be an All-Star, like, just the way I play, and maybe I can bring another guy with me. That’s how I think going into this season. Like, I’m more team– my main focus is to win, because I want to bring some of these people with me to the top.
Serbia was the winner of the first 2022 Supercup Semifinal, edging out Italy, 90-86, Friday. Back-to-back NBA MVP Nikola Jokic was the difference-maker in Hamburg, Germany. His team-high 18 points included the go-ahead bucket with 1:05 left in the exciting prep game. Additional production of ten rebounds and five assists in a 24-minute showing for the Joker. Captain Vladimir Lucic, Anadolu Efes superstar Vasilije Micic, and CSKA’s Nikola Milutinov all contributed 15 points each.
Christos Tsaltas: Cedi Osman ended up the Acropolis Tournament in style 16 pts / 6 rebs / 6-14 FG #Cavs forward showed good things on the floor and he’s getting ready for Eurobasket. #BizBirlikteyiz #LetEmKnow
Christos Tsaltas: Kostas Antetokounmpo vs Turkey 19 points 13 rebounds 9-13 FG 8-10 2P 1-3 3P 1 assist 2 steals 1 block 27 ranking He was sensational tonight. Greece defeated 89-80 Turkey in Day 3 of Acropolis Tournament. #HellasBasketball pic.twitter.com/8wtuk7vUCL