The Indiana Pacers have played in two hard-fought playoff games, coming just short of winning each one. While the Pacers have remained resilient on the court, Paul George has been addressing issues off the court.

After a Game 1 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers where C.J. Miles missed the go-ahead basket, George told reporters in his post-game press conference that he has to have the ball in his hands in those situations.

George goes after Stephenson

After Game 2, George publicly called out another one of his teammates, newest addition Lance Stephenson. Although Stephenson has been a pleasant late-season acquisition for Indiana, the 26-year-old guard has a tendency to play out of control and try to do too much. George made a clear note of that in his press conference on Monday saying, “He [Stephenson] has to learn to control himself…his body language has to improve.”

George did acknowledge that Stephenson is looked upon as a veteran leader in the locker room and has a great competitive spirit, but he must not force the issue.

Even Pacers head coach Nate McMillan pulled Stephenson aside during the game to tell him to “calm down.”

In 26 minutes on the floor, Stephenson racked up 13 points, four assists, two rebounds, and two steals. There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that he could stuff a stat sheet, but his competitive edge, although appreciated, hurts the Pacers because he does too many unnecessary things.

Would George’s comments affect the team negatively?

People believe that George is hurting the team with his post-game comments since he is publicly calling out his teammates.

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However, he is the leader of the team and the best player, which gives him every right to make harsh comments at times. It’s not like he is throwing them under the bus or being entirely negative. He is appropriately answering questions from the media, while hinting what his teammates must do better.

Lance Stephenson should start, though

Although criticized for his out-of-control play, Stephenson should still earn the start alongside Paul George, Jeff Teague, Thaddeus Young, and Myles Turner.

That combination of players is probably Indiana’s best defensive lineup. Since the defense has been extremely soft, they need a guy like Stephenson in the starting unit to set the tone early. With Monta Ellis, the Pacers defense suffers most specifically on pick-and-rolls. Ellis is too undersized to be able to defend multiple positions. With Stephenson, the defense is far more versatile.

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