Hard work beats talent

Hard work beats talent

Photo credit: Frank McGrath, Indiana Pacers

Intelligent sports fans immediately know when their player or team isn’t giving effort or they can figure out when that player or team is just going through the motions during a game.

Casual sports fans might not recognize it immediately but will pick up the clues before too long. This was the case Saturday night for the Indiana Pacers and its four-time all-star Paul George.

On a night where the Pacers honored the 1990’s decade, the most successful decade to date with this franchise and gave each of the 17,923 spectators a Reggie Miller bobblehead, its most successful franchise player to date; its current star-player laid an egg.

The Pacers came home to host their division rivals, the Milwaukee Bucks. Both teams were on the second night of a back-to-back where the Bucks lost at home to the Los Angeles Lakers and the Pacers lost on the road to the Washington Wizards on Feb. 1o.

George picked up two fouls in the first quarter, sending him to the bench earlier than usual. He failed to score in the first quarter, which didn’t get picked up by some fans until he re-entered in the second.

George scored his first basket with 7:52 remaining before picking up his third foul towards the tail-end of the first half.

The third quarter didn’t give fans much hope either. George did connect on a 3-point attempt and got to the foul line but his six points in the third was not nearly enough to counteract the Bucks and their all-star starter Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Antetokounmpo finished with 20 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds while going 12-14 from the foul-line.

George would ultimately finish the game on the bench after fouling out. He finished with 13 points on 4-11 shooting and five turnovers.

Are Pacers fans or even PG-13 fans starting to become upset? Well if so, there are a couple of possibilities here as to why.

Could it be that we had the lead against the Wizards the previous night before blowing it and losing our second straight game?

Could it be the various times this season where the Pacers fail to rebound on the defensive side during key stretches of games?

Could it be the multiple times this season where George would go greet the other team and even bro-hug multiple members of a team that beat us and then smile about it walking off the court?

Side note:

The crowd booed the Pacers’ horrendous performance during the third quarter of the New York Knicks game on Jan. 23 on TNT and in front of “Uncle Reggie.”

After the lost to the team that is currently no. 12 of 15 in the Eastern Conference, Paul took to social media around 1 a.m. to shout out New Orleans Pelicans’ guard Jrue Holiday for wearing his signature shoe, the PG-1.

Could it be the multiple times where fans in attendance or watching on TV wouldn’t even notice George on the floor because of his lack of assertiveness?

But don’t boo him!

Don’t boo when he allows an inferior defender to take him completely out of the game. Don’t boo when he doesn’t take over a game when his team needs him most. Paul doesn’t like it when you boo him or his team for performing horribly.

I have been ultra-critical of Monta Ellis for his jump-passing turnovers and low defensive IQ since signing with Indiana. But Saturday, he showed flashes of his former self with two dunks, one being over the top of Mirza Teletovic and his fourth quarter heroics, which still wasn’t enough to pull the Pacers to a single-digit deficit in the fourth. Ellis finished with 18 points off the bench.

With all due respect, Ellis should not have to rally this team when the NBA 2K17 cover athlete is perfectly healthy. There’s a level of inadequacy that you should not want to fall below as a competitor.

Hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard.

That’s been the case for a C.J. Miles who, while still is talented, works hard every time he puts on that no. 0 jersey.

That’s been the case for a young-stud in Myles Turner who has battled all week with sickness but was too competitive to make an excuse or see his team fall without him.

Do the Pacers really miss Thaddeus Young that much? Will Thad be the difference in their assertiveness?

We will have to wait and see because Feb. 13 won’t get any better for the Pacers. The San Antonio Spurs and their MVP-hopeful Kahwi Leonard come to town.

Maybe this will be the game where the Pacers assert their selves for 48 minutes.

_______________

Peace. Love. Paul stop dapping up the other team after losses, please!

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