Paul George feels that the Indiana Pacers fell into Denver's trap during an NBA Global Games shellacking in London. The Eastern Conference playoff hopefuls came into Thursday night's (12 January) contest at the O2 Arena as the clear favourites, having built considerable momentum during an impressive five-game winning streak, but they were ultimately embarrassed 140-112 in a wholly one-sided, exhibition-like affair.
"They had a good gameplan against us," Olympic gold medallist and three-time All-Star George told reporters after finishing the night with only 10 points on a dismal two for 12 shooting. "They trapped, loaded the paint and switched. We take pride in trying to move the ball and get a free-flow offence going. But when a team switches it's hard to move the ball if guys don't move. We fell into their trap. They had a good gameplan. We'll see them again [on March 24 in Indiana]."
George refused to label Indiana's weak performance as a result of tiredness from a lengthy journey, pointing out that Denver were required to travel even further. However, he did question if a mini-break in the schedule that typically comes with that cross-Atlantic trip had attributed to such an emphatic loss.
"The break, we could say that could play a part, who knows. We really got away from how we played our last five games. Tonight we went back into the funk that we had been playing in. I definitely won't put that on travel or us being over here as the reason why we played like that tonight."
The Pacers, who head coach Nate McMillan said looked like they were running through mud, had lost four successive games before their recent winning streak and that inconsistency evidently continues to irk George.
He added: "You can sense the frustration from tonight ... It's going to be a long year if we fall into this trap and continue to play and be this team. We had a lot of success over the past week playing as a team and tonight we got away from that. When guys have different agendas or we go off on different routes, we struggle. We struggle as a team. It's got to stop."
George comprehensively lost his small forward battle with Danilo Gallinari, who had 18 points and set the tone for Denver with a treble of early efforts from beyond the arc. Nikola Jokic, Wilson Chandler, Gary Harris, Kenneth Faried and Jameer Nelson also reached double figures on a night when the up-tempo Nuggets, who shared the offensive load to the tune of almost 40 assists, forgot all about their recent defensive woes and halted a run of five straight defeats.
"I thought it was a very good game for everybody," Gallinari said. "Our offense was clicking, our defense, especially in the third quarter, was very good. I thought it was a great team effort."