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LeBron James-Paul George matchup reaches awesome levels in Game 2

May 25, 2013, 12:06 AM EDT

Indiana Pacers v Miami Heat - Game Two Getty Images

As the final seconds of the third quarter wound down, Paul George dribbled at the top and sized up LeBron James, arguably the NBA’s best wing defender. Without the benefit of LeBron overplaying him or the absence of a rim protector, George drove left past LeBron and ferociously dunked over Chris Andersen as a foul was called on the pile of feathers that remained where Birdman previously existed.

After George made the free throw with 5.1 seconds remaining, LeBron took the inbound, pushed up court and leaned in for a 29-foot 3-pointer at the buzzer.

George headed toward his bench as everyone watching delighted in an awesome end to the quarter, but LeBron called him back for a quick high five near midcourt. It was an incredible moment that could rank just below Isiah Thomas’ and Magic Johnson’s pregame kiss in NBA lore – if George takes takes the steps to be remembered as a star.

The high five, it should be noted, occurred closer to LeBron’s bench.

George is the breakout star of the 2013 conference finals,  but LeBron is the star of everything, and this matchup is still unfolding on LeBron’s terms. Though the Pacers won Game 2, 97-93, LeBron (36 points on 14-of-20 shooting, eight rebounds, three assists and three steals) outplayed George (22 points on 9-of-16 shooting, six assists and two rebounds).

But the Pacers don’t need George to win this matchup, and if they did, they’d be in a world of trouble. Indiana needs George to hold his own, and so far, he’s doing that, which is truly incredible.

At times, George played neck and necked with the NBA’s greatest player, someone who’s playing as well as anyone has ever played this game.

In Game 1, LeBron (30 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists and three blocks) again bested George (27 points, five assists and four rebounds), but like tonight, George didn’t let LeBron dominate the matchup.

Any overtime game, as Miami’s Game 1 victory was, offers infinite opportunities for the losing team to regret a mistake. George turned the ball over a team-high six times in that game, and any one of those could have made the difference.

George got his turnovers under control tonight (just two in 39 minutes), but LeBron went the other direction. He had five turnovers tonight, including two passes stolen in the final 42 seconds with Miami down two points.

George didn’t steal either, and he didn’t do much to force either. But on both plays, he stuck close with LeBron and applied at least a little pressure.

  1. reasonablemindsays - May 25, 2013 at 12:16 AM

    Typical LeBron game. Dominate like your the greatest player to ever live for the first 3 and a half quarters, then make stupid mistakes down the stretch to lose the game.

    • cantonbound13 - May 25, 2013 at 1:37 AM

      NBA’s version of A-Rod. Where’s all the ridiculous clutch talk now? Maybe if Vogel took out his best defenders again he could have done something?

      • tunabumblebee - May 25, 2013 at 4:49 AM

        Funny, these harsh criticisms of the guy who won the championship for his team last year and will do it again this year… what do you want him to do, win 2 championships per year? LOL

    • jfeiro - May 25, 2013 at 6:42 PM

      Typical misinformed LeBron hater. He has been extremely clutch in his playoff career. To say otherwise is just ignorant. Educate yourself, loser.

  2. mungman69 - May 25, 2013 at 12:24 AM

    Really the typical LaBron game is hitting the big shots at the end, like game 1.

    • money2long - May 25, 2013 at 9:33 AM

      i definitely know skip bayless wasn’t the one who wrote this.

  3. andrewproughcfe - May 25, 2013 at 12:39 AM

    I still can’t see how James can take only one shot in the final 3 minutes of a game that they lose by 4 points. And only 3 shots in the final 8 minutes of the game, scoring only 3 points.

    He supplies most of his team’s offense for 3 quarters, and then he just – disappears.

    • money2long - May 25, 2013 at 9:35 AM

      “I still can’t see how James can take only one shot in the final 3 minutes of a game”

      unlike Kobe and MJ, LBJ’s killer mentality isn’t perfected.

  4. cantonbound13 - May 25, 2013 at 1:40 AM

    I just love how Dwhine Wade pulled another dirty cheap shot with the flying elbow on the side of Stevenson’s head. Careful Pacers, he may try to dislocate a players elbow or break a nose.

    • gmsingh - May 25, 2013 at 11:52 AM

      Are you kidding? That Wade is a warrior. He has a severely injured knee and yet is capable of mustering the strength to launch himself in the air and smash a guy in the head with his forearm. The only disappointing thing was that he didn’t flop afterwards and claim he was the one that got fouled.

      • cantonbound13 - May 26, 2013 at 1:49 PM

        I guess a healthy Diva Wade would flop afterward, complain he was fouled then ask for a wheelchair.

      • gmsingh - May 27, 2013 at 9:14 AM

        Perfect–Wade in a wheelchair in the pregame ceremonies. Like SCTV’s Guy Caballero.

  5. pistolpete0903 - May 25, 2013 at 2:36 AM

    Living on the West coast (and not an outright Pacers fan), I hardly watched the Pacers and George play. Seen West and Hibbert play in college and knew they were going to be very good players, didn’t know much about Paul.
    Maybe George was good; it’s only now that they are on national TV is that he is getting the due recognition. An opinion from an objective fan would be appreciated.

  6. jbeagles23 - May 25, 2013 at 7:32 AM

    Number one if anyone actually watched the game everytime lebron got them back in it they wouldn’t gue him the ball. The one time he was demanding it from wade and wade just drove for a floater or battier or chalmers would jack a three. This is the best opening of a series I’ve seen just wish the refs would swallow their whistles for both teams so both teams aren’t in the penalty with 5 minutes left each quarter

    • shinkle78 - May 25, 2013 at 8:38 AM

      I just wish the Ref’s would start calling the Tech’s in a fair manor in this series. A Pacer can try and steal the ball from James by TOUCHING the BALL, and James acts upset, so a Ref calls a Technical. Hansbrough can get tied up with Wade, and actually try to keep him from hitting the ground so hard, and it’s yet another Technical. But Wade can pull an MMA elbow, and it’s all good, not even a regular foul?

      The Ref’s are Tech happy, and so far, those fouls are helping Miami out.

      I’m looking and looking, on both the NBA site and on ESPN I can’t find the statistics showing Fouls called. I can find everything else, except Fouls. I’d like to be able to compare them at the end of games, but at this rate, it may be impossible unless I sit there with a pen and paper and write them down as the game goes on. =/

  7. filthymcnasty1smom - May 25, 2013 at 9:18 AM

    Look for the Heat, and Birdman in particular, to thug it up in Game 3. They’ll call it ” matching the Pacers intensity and physicality”, but it’s really just thuggery to get the Pacers to doing something stupid at a critical time in the game. Riley is no dope and the entire organization is following his lead and working the Media to perfection. Miami can do no wrong! Be smart Indiana… keep your cool. The Heat don’t matchup well and they know it and will get desperate.

  8. eagles512 - May 25, 2013 at 9:49 AM

    Not a big James fan but I love how his critics don’t say a word for the 6-7 great games in a row and he finally has some issues late in a game, they come out of the woodwork like he’s been struggling all along.

  9. dakotatp - May 25, 2013 at 12:34 PM

    I wanna give a shoutout to the author of this article, Brett Pollakoff. I love the last sentence of his first paragraph……made me laugh…….’on the pile of feathers that remained.’ Great description of the play.

  10. iowahbr - May 25, 2013 at 2:43 PM

    I am not a LeBron fan but it is a shame that he is so much better with the ball than the other Heat players that he winds up being a point forward during Heat crunch time. Except for the 2 TOs last night at the end I don’t see how he could have contributed any more to the Heat winning that game. I also fel bad for the other Heat players as it is difficult not to become an observer when you play with someone that skilled or you just try and stay out of his way because he is so dominating.. If you are a fan of b-ball I don’t see how you can have a bad word about his performance last night.

    • gostlcards5 - May 26, 2013 at 3:40 PM

      I’m a Pacers fan, and I totally agree with you. LBJ was awesome in Gm 2. He made two bad decisions at the end, but the problem with that is that he has the ball in his hands all the time. Even the best eventually make a mistake or two. He can’t do it all alone, and Wade, etc. were no help at the end of the game.

  11. glassnblr - May 25, 2013 at 5:51 PM

    On LBJ’s second turnover with under a minute left Paul George did a good job staying in front of King James while Hibbert cheated over from Bosh on the strong side.No easy layup for the Chosen One this time.
    The best part for me was that just before the 2 turnovers in the final minute TNT had shown a montage of LBJ’s game winning shots and Marv Albert talking about how much he adores him.After the turnovers the camera goes to Marv’s sad little face while he frantically thinks of something glib to say.

  12. dnbajunkie - May 25, 2013 at 10:12 PM

    That’s the scary part, LBJ played a very good game and the Heat still lost. Even in game 1, the Heat was lucky to win that, Indiana gave that one away. The Heat will be very lucky to win this series.

  13. chicagofan - May 26, 2013 at 9:53 AM

    Your description of the exchange is inaccurate. In the post game interview, George said LeBron hollered ” I got you back young fella” then George turned around and slapped hands. Truly one the great moments in NBA playoff history and the Pacers were still up by 2 going into the 4th–George is a rising superstar and a person of character we can like–similiar to Durant but with better D.This exchange will never be forgotten, if he and Hibbert takes down the mighty Heat.

    • gostlcards5 - May 26, 2013 at 6:47 PM

      No, as PG walked away with his head down a little, you could see LBJ on the replay say what looked like “Paul…..hey, Paul”, then they slapped hands and he said more, which was probably the “…I got you back…”.

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