Shots weren’t falling and Indiana Pacers forward Paul George didn’t care for how the officials were doing their jobs.
But the Pacers put their issues behind them with a strong finish to put away the Brooklyn Nets 104-97 Friday night for their 10th win in the past 11 home games at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Afterward, however, George didn’t hide his displeasure in an on-court TV interview with Fox Sports Indiana.
“Yeah, man, the stripes was terrible,” George said. “We just have to go out and play. We know the way this game was going and how they was calling it, we had to play.”
Asked how difficult it was, he said, “It’s frustrating. Hopefully the league does a better job of looking at (crap) like this.”
The profane word will undoubtedly prompt the the league to fine George for his language. The two-time All-Star was fined $10,000 earlier this season for criticism of officials. He received technical fouls in the season’s first three games.
“No comment on the officials,” head coach Frank Vogel said with a smile when asked about George’s criticism.
The Pacers (16-9) struggled against a Nets (7-19) team that dropped to 1-13 on the road. Brooklyn led by five entering the final quarter.
“I don’t think we were lethargic at all,” Vogel said. “I thought we were in attack mode offensively. We were running the floor. We’re getting a lot of good looks, a lot of good looks. I was just telling the coaching staff, if we shot the ball half as good as we’ve been shooting it or what our numbers suggest, we score 120 points tonight.”
The Pacers entered with a 38.8 3-point shooting percentage, which ranked second in the league.
The game was tied at 83 when Lavoy Allen hit a 17-foot jumper to push the home team ahead and start a 21-9 run over a span of 4 minutes, 57 seconds down down the stretch. Brooklyn committed four turnovers while the Pacers got hot. Pacers reserve center Jordan Hill scored 10 of his 14 points during the spurt. George added seven of his team-high 23 points in the pivotal stretch.
“I don’t know,” forward C.J. Miles said. “I look at it like when a team mucks the game up a little bit like that, makes it a little dirty, a little nasty and not a real good flow, not shooting it well, we’ve got to make sure we continue to defend and create the flow.
“There will be nights like this. There will be nights you’ve just go to find a way to win it.”
That was Vogel’s message to his team. The Pacers couldn’t count on their 3-point shooting, making just 7-of-28 (25 percent). They hit just 26-of-68 shots overall (38.2 percent) through three quarters.
“Nothing was going our way,” Vogel said. “We were shooting the ball horribly, not just from the 3-point line but missing finishes inside. Some other things weren’t really going our way (smile) that we tried not to get caught up in.
“You’ve got to find ways to win in other ways.”
In the fourth, the home team knocked down 11-of-21 shots (52.4 percent). The Nets had six turnovers in the quarter and were outscored 32-20. That was enough for the Pacers.
“I don’t care, you can look at the stat sheet at the end of the day and take notes, but it’s still a ‘W,’” said Miles, who had 15 points. “The standings don’t care how you won. They just care who won.”
Guard Rodney Stuckey scored 15 points and along with Hill led a Pacers’ bench advantage of 45-23 although Indiana used just four reserves.
For what it’s worth, George had somewhat simmered when he chatted with reporters in the locker room.
“It’s tough,” he said. “It almost makes me more aggressive. When I’m not getting calls, I have to be more aggressive. I’ve just got to play the game. Play the game to finish, play the game to attack. Whatever happens, happens.”
Phillip B. Wilson also can be found on Facebook and Google+.