The Indiana Pacers currently have a six-game winning streak and are 10-3 since traveling to London on Jan. 12. With things moving in the right direction, Paul George took some time to reflect on the early struggles of the season.
For the first half of the season, the Pacers were probably the most disappointing team in the eastern conference. They traded Jeff Teague and Thaddeus Young to pair with George and Myles Turner. They also added bench scoring with Al Jefferson and Aaron Brooks.
The team was trying to integrate a new, uptempo offense under new head coach Nate McMillan, who had not coached this style of play in any of his prior head coaching stints. As a result, the new pieces did not gelling well early, and the team chemistry was shaky at best.
More from Ink on Indy
- Still Searching for Their Groove, Pacers Take on Struggling Magic Thursday Night
- Pacers Travel to the Nation’s Capital to Begin Four Game Road Trip
- Update on Pacers’ Oladipo’s Serious Leg Injury
- Has Romeo Langford Been a Disappointment for the Hoosiers?
- The Indianapolis Colts Have a Brutal Road Schedule in 2019
The Pacers had a 20-21 record at the halfway point of their season. The early season struggles and inconsistency had an effect on Paul George.
"“I was in a dark moment, a low moment,” George said. “I had a bunch of ankle injuries going on. The team wasn’t meshing well. The chemistry between myself and Jeff (Teague) wasn’t where it should’ve been. … I’m the guy who has to bring it on both ends, and I wasn’t feeling like I was capable of doing it physically. So it was wearing on me.”"
Throughout the first half of the season, George’s visibly and verbally displayed his unhappiness. Remember, he complained about the Pacers’ chemistry seven games into the season.
Also, he kicked a basketball into the stands after disagreeing with a referee’s a call. While he does argue and disagree with calls every now and then, kicking a ball in frustration is unusual for him. That action alone is a pretty good indicator something was going on.
Luckily for the Pacers, George’s struggles, displeasure, and injuries are all things of the past now. Before traveling to London, George said he had an “epiphany” that helped reinvigorate his desire to play every other night.
In January, George averaged 24.5 points and shot 47.8% from the field, which includes his 42.3% shooting from behind the three-point line. As a result, the Pacers can do some damage in the second half of the season.
The Pacers are sixth in the Eastern conference. They are now in striking range for home court advantage in the first round of the playoffs. They are two games back of the fourth seed Toronto Raptors and 4.5 games back of the second seed Boston Celtics.
This week, ESPN’s Marc Stein currently ranked the Pacers at No. 10 in his weekly NBA Power Rankings. If the Pacers continue to ride this hot streak will move up even further than that.
It is good to hear Paul George admit something was bothering him at the start of the season, but it is even more uplifting to hear he has overcome his “dark moment.”
Now, he can help the Pacers reach the high standard a lot of people had set for them entering this year: Challenging the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference Finals.