There are probably a few things Paul George should be focusing on at the moment. His top-seeded Indiana Pacers just lost Game 1 against the No. 8 Atlanta Hawks, 101-93. His club has been struggling with an identity crisis for well over a month. Teammate Roy Hibbert even called out fellow Pacers in the process, describing some of them as "selfish dudes."
But George doesn't seem to be worried about all that. He's too busy fishing—or as he put it on Instagram, "A lil R&R out on the lake with my bro @jacob_wheeler12":
This isn't the TNT Photoshopped edition—though we might not have to wait much longer. Here's last season's Pacers edition:
Could the Hawks actually send Indiana home sooner than expected? It's become a distinct possibility, thanks in large part to Atlanta's perimeter shooting and emergent point guard Jeff Teague. Unless George and co. turn things around quickly, they could be in store for an early upset.
Perhaps George was just doing some much-needed soul-searching. Hopefully he found more than fish.
His team caught heavy criticism after Game 1, with TNT analyst Charles Barkley calling the Pacers "wussies" on the air.
"I'm an Indiana fan because of everything [they] stand for," Barkley said. "But to come out and play like flat wussies...and I'm only calling y'all wussies because I don't want to get the FCC pissed off at me...They're embarrassing coach [Frank] Vogel and the great Larry Bird."
No word yet on what Barkley thinks of George's prowess on the water.
The Pacers host Atlanta in Game 2 on Tuesday. Look for a renewed effort as a means of avoiding embarrassment if nothing else. The Pacers began the season with their sights set on displacing the Miami Heat as the best in the East, but they will have to take care of business in the first round before even thinking about Miami.
That will mean some tweaking.
Hibbert said the focus was on offense today and changes are likely. “We’re upset, hungry, hurt and ready to go out there & compete.”— Scott Agness (@ScottAgness) April 20, 2014
Despite claiming the first seed during the regular season, Indiana entered the playoffs with nothing resembling momentum.
After Game 1, Sports Illustrated's Matt Dollinger offered a damning postmortem:
The Pacers' free fall from bona fide contender to blue-and-gold dumpster fire has been more abrupt than a Gregg Popovich interview. Did Evan Turner and Andrew Bynum throw off the team's peerless chemistry? Did the players' newfound success go to their heads? Did a team reliant on teamwork become selfish to a fault? Yes, yes and yes. Indiana came unhinged with an 8-10 March, and the Pacers have yet to recover.
Even if the Pacers find a way through this first-round series, it's hard to see them worrying the rest of the East at the moment. They would face the winner of the Chicago Bulls-Washington Wizards series that Washington currently leads 1-0.
But let's not get ahead of ourselves. The rest of the Pacers may be joining George's fishing trips soon enough.