Indiana Pacers star Paul George confirmed Thursday that he was all set for Friday Game 6 after a tough-to-swallow 102-99 loss to Toronto Raptors.
“If that’s the direction that the game is going, I’m all for it,” George said after practice to ESPN. “Whatever we got to do to win, I’m doing it.”
The Pacers led by 15 late in third quarter during Tuesday’s game 5 where George contributed 39 points, 8 rebounds and 8 assists. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to stop the Raptors from recovering their 17-point deficit, which gave them the 3-2 series advantage.
“A chance to make Friday night a special Friday night in a close-out game and we blew it, we blew the opportunity, it’s frustration,” said the Pacers’ number thirteen small forward, per Fox Sports.
The Pacers has the 25-year-old to thank all season, guiding them through until playoffs against Toronto. George has an almost 29-point average in five games, with 42-percent deep shooting prowess to boot for.
During the 6 minutes, 55 seconds George was on the bench, the Pacers had one point and were 0-for-10 from the field, with three turnovers. During the same stretch, the Raptors scored 19 points and were 7-for-1, according to ESPN.
Though coach Frank Vogel did not confirm whether it is necessary to put George in all 48 minutes of the game, George said it’s the “desperation feeling” that forces him to ensure they would have a series comeback victory.
After Thursday practice, Vogel re-defended his decision to take a seemingly tired George out at the end of the third quarter. He said, “We got outplayed. So we learn our lesson from it and come back and win Game 6.”
“We didn’t make enough plays,” George said, as quoted by NBA. “That is what it came down to in the fourth quarter. We have to put this (game) away. Friday is a new day and we have to get a win.”
George, who is averaging 41.1 minutes a game during the 2012-13 and 2013-14 postseasons, has not played all 48 minutes of a regulation game in his career. In this playoff series with the Raptors, George is averaging 37.8 minutes a game.
Also read: Pacers Defeat Raptors 100-83 In Game 4, Even Series At 2-2