Indiana's Paul George
(left) wasn't happy with the zebras during Game 4 against Miami. (Issac Baldizon/Getty Images)
Paul George directly questioned the officials following Indiana's 102-90 loss to Miami in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals, suggesting that the Heat's free-throw disparity was the reason they won the game.
"You can't tell me we don't attack the basket as much as they attack the basket," George said. "You can't tell me we're not aggressive. Maybe we're too aggressive. We're just as aggressive as they are attacking the basket and making plays at the rim. Maybe this was just home cooking."
Game 4 was played at Miami's American Airlines Arena, where the Heat are now 7-0 during the postseason.
Even though Indiana couldn't contain LeBron James (32 points, 10 rebounds and five assists) or Chris Bosh (25 points and six rebounds), it was George's opinion that the refereeing crew of Dan Crawford, James Capers and Marc Davis had a major hand in the game's outcome.
"Looking at the stat sheet we outplayed them," George said. "You have to give them credit, they won this game at the free throw line. They really just were able to get to the line more than we were. I thought we outplayed them tonight.
"It's just demoralizing when a game is lopsided. I'm sorry to say, but that was the case, again. How rare is it we shoot 50 percent, turn the ball over around 13 or so times, out-rebound a team and lose a ball game? ... They made 30 free throws. That put them over the edge."
Indiana was called for 27 fouls that led to 34 Miami free throw attempts. Miami was called for 17 fouls that led to 17 Indiana free throw attempts. The Heat outscored the Pacers 30-11 at the line, setting a new season-high for their most made free throws in a game.
James, as you might expect, came to a different conclusion when he reviewed the boxscore.
"We did only have five turnovers, seven steals and 20 points off their turnovers," he said. "That has nothing to do with the free throw line."
Unlike his All-Star forward, Pacers coach Frank Vogel took a no-excuses approach in explaining his team's defeat, giving full credit to his opponents.
"We got outplayed by the Heat," Vogel said. "They're the best offensive team in the NBA. That's the biggest reason [we've struggled defensively]. They've got great weapons. They're very difficult to guard."
It's possible that George's comments could draw a fine from the league office. Nets coach Jason Kidd and Clippers coach Doc Rivers were each fined $25,000 for criticizing the officials during the 2014 playoffs.
The Heat now hold a 3-1 series lead over the Pacers. Game 5 is set for Wednesday in Indiana. Should Miami win, they would advance to their fourth consecutive Finals, where they would face either San Antonio or Oklahoma City.