The LeBron James/ Paul George duel has provided some of the most compelling theater in this highly entertaining Heat-Pacers Eastern Conference finals.
George has shot 10 for 13 in the series when guarded by James, according to ESPN’s Stats and Information department. James shot 10 for 14 when defended by George in Game 2 but committed two turnovers in the final minute.
“He’s really good — he’s going to be a great one,” James said. “His maturity and game have definitely risen in just one year.”
Among the memorable snapshots of Game 2: George soaring over Chris Andersen for a dunk, James then beating the third-quarter buzzer with a three-pointer, and James then hand-slapping George and saying: “I got you back, young fellow.”
Said George: “That was a moment I’ll always remember. I’ve got the most respect for LeBron. I look up to him. I’m ready for the challenge. He’s ready. It’s going to be fun.”
James is averaging 33 points and shooting 59.1 percent in the series. George, who has been defended by Dwyane Wade at times, is averaging 24.5 points on 50 percent shooting.
After the game, James lamented his two late turnovers — one with 43 seconds left, one with eight seconds to go. “Very disappointing,” he said. “That’s the first thing I always look at on the stat sheet is my turnovers. I am very disappointed in my judgment and my plays down the stretch. But I’ll make up for them.”
James shrugged off Pacers guard George Hill saying the “one person that’s scarier [than James is] God.”
Responded James: “I’m nowhere near close. I made two mistakes [Friday]. Let my teammates down. They expect me to make plays down the stretch, and I came up short. That burns.”
• The NBA on Saturday spent time reviewing a play in which Dwyane Wade, racing back on defense, jumped to avoid Lance Stephenson and ended up elbowing him in the head. The league said it had nothing to report regarding whether there would be any discipline.
• Rebounding remains a major concern: The Pacers have outrebounded the Heat by 56 in five games this season, including plus-12 in this series.
One option would be pairing Chris Bosh with Andersen more, but the Heat has been outscored by one with those two on the floor together in 12 minutes in this series. During the regular season, the Heat was outscored by nine points in 60 minutes when they were paired.
Also, the Heat believes Anderson — who has shot 9 for 9 in the series and 31 for 37 in the playoffs — is less effective with far more minutes. He played less than 15 minutes in Game 2, after logging 18 in Game 1.
• The Heat has made just 34 of 51 free throws in the series (66.7 percent), while the Pacers are 50 for 64 (78.1 percent).