And for the second game in a row, George very publicly singled out a teammate for criticism following a playoff loss.
This time it was Lance Stephenson, who suffered mightily on the defensive end when coach Nate McMillan matched him up with Kevin Love. During a two and a half-minute stretch late in the third quarter, Love scored 10 points without missing a shot from the field or the free-throw line, and drew four fouls—three of them on Stephenson. During this time, the Pacers saw a nine-point Cavs lead balloon to 19.
"He's got to learn to control himself and be in the moment," George said after the 117-111 defeat. "Lance, in our locker room, is looked upon as a leader. His body language has to improve—just for the team. We all know that Lance is an emotional guy. A lot of it is his heart and his competitiveness. That emotion comes out of him. He's got to channel that toward making effort plays on the court and doing whatever he needs for us to succeed."
After watching C.J. Miles hoist and miss the final and potentially game-winning shot in Game 1, George called Miles out.
"In situations like that, I got to get the last shot," George said. "I was asking for it. C.J. took it upon himself."
Before Game 2, however, George recanted his previous position.
“A lot of me, of course, being the leader of this team wants the last shot. And wants the game to be decided by me,” George said after watching the replay a day later, according to NBA.com. “But at the same time, I’ve got to have trust for my teammates. C.J. has been in that position in this season where I needed him to make a big shot. And I’ve kicked it to him and he’s made the big shot.
“I thought he had a good look. A very makeable shot for C.J. But I was selfish in the moment. I wanted that shot in that moment.”
Miles wasn't offended by George's initial response anyway, while defending his decision in the closing seconds.
“He should want the shot,” Miles said. “I have no problem with him saying that. We wanted to get him the shot. There’s no miscommunication about that. But that’s just how the play went down. And I made the read I was supposed to make. Left it a little short.”