Pop it Paul:
The #1 seed in the East, the 55-27 Indiana Pacers, lost 101-93 to the 37-45 #8 seed Atlanta Hawks in Indiana. The Pacers were out of sync all game, at one point dropping down by 20 points. The Hawks were at the top of their game, with Point Guard Jeff Teague scoring 28 points. Teague was too quick for anyone on the Pacers and scored in the lane at will. Paul George was continually popping long-isolation 2-pointers, while Lance Stephenson took multiple 360 layups with three players on him that ended up getting stuffed. Roy Hibbert and David West were no-shows, and Frank Vogel could simply could not get the defense onto the explosive Teague or get Lance and George to PASS the ball. The reason I think that Lance was such a flat-out ball-hog is that he is trying too hard to prove to people that he was wrongly snubbed from the All-Star game. PG-24's reason for being a selfish ball-hog: with all the talk during the beginning of the year about Paul George for MVP have given George a puffed-up head and he is forcing shots, trying to force a takeover of the game, rather than letting the game come to him. And if I was Larry Legend, and I was in THAT demoralized, head-hanging locker room I would flat out let the Indiana guys HAVE IT. This is what I envision he will likely say (without the foul language:)
"Paul, pass the ball! You look like Carmelo [Anthony] out there! You might be a budding star, but you're no superstar. It's a team game.
"Every one of you can be replaced. Even you, Paul. Even you, Roy.
"Lance!!! You have teammates!! Pass the ball!!!!!
"David, we need more out of you. You have to play like the veteran-leader that you are.
"Roy! You didn't show up tonight! Where were you? We were playing against the Hawks tonight, but I didn't see you're defense. Actually, I didn't see any OFFENSE from you either. You might win Defensive Player of the Year, but you can STILL be replaced.
"George [Hill], you played the best out of anyone in our starting lineup, but you have to step it up and be more of a leader on the court. It's time to earn your 8 million dollar contract.
"If you have a problem with Frank [Vogel], then I'll show you where the door is. Frank is going to be the coach of this team next year, so if your not OK with that, then maybe you shouldn't be here. Because tonight, you sure weren't playing like you wanted to be here. So next game, you'd better play a whole lot better if you want to be here next year."