Guard of honour: The MVP v the MIP
Paul George is full of confidence regarding the Eastern Conference Final showdown with Miami Heat as well as his personal duel with LeBron James.
The Indiana Pacers’ forward will most likely match-up with the recently crowned League MVP but is not concerned about the daunting prospect.
George said after practice: “It will be fun! I always embrace challenges and I’m looking forward to it. It should be a good series and I’m more prepared this year.”
“I feel like I’m in the best of shape, my confidence is feeling great!” the 23 year-old added.
The 2012-13 season has already proved successful for George personally as he followed up a first All-Star appearance with the Most Improved Player award. The 6’8″ forward improved in scoring, rebounding and assists to propel the Pacers into the play-offs as the third seeds. His regular season improvements are as follows:
2011-12: 12.1 ppg; 5.6 rpg; 2.4 apg in 66 games (all starts)
2012-13: 17.4 ppg; 7.6 rpg; 4.1 apg in 79 games (all starts)
From Carmelo Anthony to LeBron James, it doesn’t get easier for George and his coach Frank Vogel is hoping his forward can do his best and contain the Heat star.
“(LeBron) is the best player in the world and Paul (George) just has to do the best he can, like he did on Carmelo. LeBron (James) will have some moments and go off but Paul just has to compete and not foul.”
Vogel emphasised: “We do not want to put these guys at the free throw line.”
George is averaging 19.1 points per game along with 8.3 rebounds and 5.0 assists in the Play-offs so far after victories over Atlanta and the Knicks in Indiana‘s first two games. The All-Star produced a 29 point haul in a 10 point win over Miami in January and the Pacers claimed the season series 2-1.
In last season’s post-season meeting, Miami defeated Indiana 4-2 on their way to their second NBA Championship but Indiana, like George, have improved this season and the Pacers star is hoping his team use their size to their advantage against the champions.
“We’re a big team, we can rebound and we can play physical basketball- it’s our bread and butter.”
The opening game of the Eastern Conference Finals is live on Sky Sports from 1:30 am tonight.