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#pounditMonday, April 12, 2021

Paul George: Critical comments were meant to motivate teammates

Paul George is squaring up on those who are criticizing his leadership style.

The Indiana Pacers All-Star forward insisted on Wednesday that his recent semi-inflammatory comments were simply meant to motivate his teammates and denounced the idea that he wasn’t supportive of his team.

“It’s complete ignorance, to be honest,” said George, per Michael Marot of the Associated Press. “Everybody knows how close I am with my teammates and I said that only to motivate my teammates to win this series and win a championship. I didn’t say anything even close to throwing them under the bus. If I didn’t say nothing, it would have been another story.”

George expressed frustration that C.J. Miles got the final shot instead of him in a Game 1 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Saturday (though he later backtracked on the comments). Then, after another loss in Game 2 on Monday, he called out Lance Stephenson for a lack of composure.

An 0-2 deficit should frustrate any good team leader, and George making those comments was certainly one way to galvanize his teammates. But whether or not his motivational tactics prove effective will be determined by how the rest of this first-round series plays out for Indiana.

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