LeBron Thinks George Will Be a ‘Great One’
That endless, consistent, unwavering work collided with the devastation of the Game 1 loss and erased it in that moment. It lifted the Pacers back into this series, back to a place they are far more prepared for now than they were a year ago when they won Game 2 of the conference semifinals in Miami.
“We’ve been through this before as a group,” West said. “… We feel like we’re here for a reason. We’re going to compete our butts off every single game, every single possession.”
That work ethic, that consistency of approach and belief, will never change for these Pacers, a team that arrived in Miami this week with no anointed superstar and supposedly no chance to beat the Heat and now leaves South Florida with both.
“I could get used to this stage,” George said. “Hopefully, there’s a lot more in my career.”
There will be; we’re watching it happen, right before our widened, awakened eyes.
It was George who’d forced overtime in Game 1 with that off-balance 30-footer, and it was George who’d given the Pacers that fleeting one-point lead at the end of overtime on Wednesday night with three free throws. Now it was George going head-to-head again with James — staying in front of him on the defensive end, exchanging highlights and a handshake with him at the end of the third quarter and earning the respect of the best player on the planet.
It was an enduring moment that will outlive these playoffs, the great James embracing the competition from a 23-year-old who was not backing down.
“We’re just two guys trying to do what it takes to help our team win,” James said. “He’s really good. He’s going to be a great one.”