All-Star Paul George acknowledged he’s likely to spend at least some time defending Hawks point guard Jeff Teague on Tuesday night, though it remains unclear how long he’ll keep that assignment in Game 2 or whether the plan could change again before tip-off.
What is clear: Indiana must slow down Teague, a challenge George has already embraced.
“I would love to, just to change it up a little bit and give him a different look,” George said after the Pacers practiced Sunday.
George said he and coach Frank Vogel discussed the defensive assignment Sunday, though Vogel declined to confirm the move or any other changes he might make now that the top-seeded Pacers trail Atlanta 1-0 in the first-round series. ESPN
The Pacers’ greatest strength is supposed to be their defense. That’s why seeing stuff like this is really weird.
— NBA (@NBA) April 20, 2014
Luis Scola and Evan Turner are far from defensive stalwarts, but this picture is indicative of how well the Pacers closed lanes for the entire game. The Pacers’ numbers are frightening on both sides of the ball during the past two months. Everyone accepts that it is happening but it’s not clear why Teague can look like a superstar in the playoffs against a team that was barely allowing 90 points per game not long ago.
I don’t think Paul George alone will neutralize Teague if he becomes the primary defender. Part of what made Teague so effective was the pick and roll game which caused hesitation in the defense. The product was wide-open lanes resulting in layups or uncontested perimeter shots. Roy Hibbert shouldered a lot of the blame himself, but everyone needs to be step it up. Taking accountability is neat but it doesn’t mean a thing if they can’t assuage their mistakes enough to avoid a first round loss. – AL