*Photo via Yahoo.com
Paul George over a year ago suffered a gruesome leg injury that put his future in jeopardy. He’s put a lot of that doubt away this season while he has returned and improved his all around game. This season George averaged a new career high in points per game at 23.1 while also averaging seven rebounds and four assists a game.
Now the Indiana Pacers are in the midst of a playoff matchup against the Toronto Raptors. In surprise to much of the league the Raptors are having their woes against this Indiana team. However, the Raptors hold a 3-2 series lead following April 22nd in Toronto, where the Raptors overcame a 15 point deficit.
Why the struggles against the seven seed? Why the possibility of this series going seven and Toronto adding another year without a playoff series win? Paul George that’s why, every team come playoff time leans on their superstar to step up under the bright lights. George has done that, averaging 28.8 points per game, 6 rebounds and 4.6 assists while shooting 43 percent from the field and from behind the arc. Without question, Paul George has been an offensive juggernaut thus far in this series, but it’s been George's work on both ends which has stood out.
*Photo via ken5.com
George has been nationally demonstrating to everyone he is one of the elite defenders in the league, while taking on the challenge of DeMar DeRozan. DeRozan has solidified himself as an elite player coming of this past regular season where he averaged 23.5 points per game. Much like the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Raptors rely heavily on their two All-Stars to lead the way. Through five games DeRozan is averaging just 17.4 points per game while shooting 33.3 percent from the field. When defended by Paul George this series Raptors players are shooting an average of six percent less. What’s more eye catching is that from behind the arc when guarded by George, Toronto is shooting only 24 percent. Long story short, you don’t want to see PG-13 guarding you on defense, he’s more of an R-rating.
Paul George by far has been the best player on the court through five games. His contributions have kept the Pacers in this series and brought national attention on himself in the process. If Indiana wants to pull the seven-two upset, George will have to continue his two-way assault on the Raptors. A task maybe achievable for Georgeman, who is playing on such a high level on both ends of the court.
One thing is for certain, the final game(s) of this series look to be entertaining.