The Indiana Pacers go into tonight's game six encounter at home to the Toronto Raptors needing a win to remain in the playoffs and their superstar Paul George is ready to go the extra mile to make it happen.
After relinquishing a 17-point lead in a second half collapse in game five in Toronto, the Pacers have left themselves in a dangerous position heading into the game at Bankers Life Fieldhouse and George says he is willing to play all 48 minutes to keep his team's hopes alive.
The All-Star forward played 41 minutes at the Air Canada Centre in the previous game and put up an impressive 39 points, eight rebounds and eight assists in the losing effort and is prepared to do whatever it takes to make sure Indiana comes up with the W on their home floor to even the series at 3-3.
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"If that's the direction that the game is going, I'm all for it," George said after Thursday's practice. "Whatever we got to do to win, I'm doing it."
George is still unhappy with how the game unfolded in Canada and how his team capitulated from a strong position going into the fourth quarter and it is clear he wants to put that right, but the decision of how many minutes he plays will ultimately come down to his coach Frank Vogel.
So, will he play all 48 minutes?
"If necessary," Vogel said on Thursday. "We'll see tomorrow night."
The Pacers coach was criticised in some quarters for taking George - who, of course, played a total of 41 minutes - out of the game in the second and fourth quarters after the team squandered big leads with him off the court.
When asked if he regretted taking George out, Vogel replied: "No. I thought we handled it the right way."
George himself also backed his coach and instead pointed the finger at his teammates for not being able to maintain or build on the lead they had earned.
"Both times he took me out we were in the driver's seat, looking comfortable, up 15, up 13 … we're supposed to do our job and maintain that lead," George said. "We didn't know the game was going to go that direction."
According to ESPN Stats & Information, the Pacers were 0-for-10 from the field, had three turnovers and scored just one point during the six minutes, 55 seconds that George was out of the game. The Raptors were 7-for-14, scored 19 points and didn't turn the ball over during the same stretch.
Regardless of the result, George has had an incredible year after recovering from a horrific leg break in 2014. He has come back a better and more determined player and was named an All-Star again and in his return to the postseason, is averaging 28.8 points, which leads all players.
The 25-year-old, however, is not content with the plaudits and is certainly not ready to call time on his and the Pacers' season just yet.
"I'll have to see how the game goes," he said. "I'm going to come out and be aggressive and look to get going early. At the same time, it's on everybody to get this one."