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#pounditFriday, February 3, 2023

Paul George blames Jonas Valanciunas for late-game scuffle

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The Indiana Pacers got their equalizer on Saturday, defeating the Toronto Raptors in Game 4 by the final of 100-83 to knot their playoff series at 2 games apiece. But the victory did not come without its fair share of extracurricular activities.

While fighting for position in the lane during a free throw attempt by Ian Mahinmi in the waning seconds of the game, Pacers forward Paul George got tangled with Raptors center Jonas Valanciunas and a mini-skirmish ensued.

Here is video of the incident via Ben Golliver of Sports Illustrated:

While the play itself, which resulted in double technical fouls for the two players, seemed innocuous enough, apparently tension had been slowly building over the course of the afternoon.

“All night, Jonas was throwing his elbows and flinging his elbows and trying to lock arms. It was almost the play before where he did the same thing and I let it slide and Ian shot a free throw,” George said, per ESPN’s Mike Mazzeo and Mike Wells. “I crashed in, trying to get the rebound. Next thing you know, his hands once again are coming up toward my throat. I didn’t like that.”

Valanciunas, for his part, played the innocence card, saying, “I wasn’t trying to hit him. It just happened.”

This Raptors-Pacers series has already shocked many by being perhaps the most exciting battle of the entire first round. Now with some serious bad blood brewing between these two teams to complement the action, we could be in for an entertaining final few games.

H/T theScore

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