The Toronto Raptors squeaked by Paul George and the Indiana Pacers in the first round of the NBA Playoffs, and head coach Dwane Casey said PG kept him up at night the way a “young Kobe Bryant” used to.

George was fantastic in the series, and said he was proud of the Pacers’ gutsy effort throughout the seven-game battle.

The Pacers head into an offseason that may feature significant changes, but they are proud of just how far they pushed the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference.

Per the Indy Star:

“At the end of the day we had a good year, had a good run,” George said after leading the Pacers in scoring for the sixth time this series (26 points, with a team-best 12 rebounds). “We had a rookie in our lineup who’s going to get better, going to learn, going to come back a completely different player. This is a two-seed. A 55-plus win team. We took it to Game 7…”

 

The Pacers, the seventh seed, really had no business making it this deep in the series. They were trying to pull off a first-round upset, a feat achieved by only five teams in NBA history. They were on the road, a raucous arena in which they had won once in eight games over the previous three years. […] Even more, as Game 7 revealed, they were up against a Raptors team that finally looked worthy of their ranking. So, the result was expected.

 

George sat less than two minutes the whole game but the presence of the best player on the court still did not fix certain problems: Defenders getting faked too often on the perimeter and Toronto’s ownership of the offensive glass (18 total), often permitting multiple scoring opportunities to the Raptors. On Monday, the Pacers begin cleaning out their lockers. It will also be George’s 26th birthday and, as his teammates look back on a season and see success, George looks toward the future. […] “I play this game the only way I know how to play; to play hard and leave everything on the floor,” George said. “The last thing I want to say is, ‘I didn’t give it enough, played without the heart.’ […] “Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough in this series,” George said, “but it’s a lot to take away from it. It’s the first year as being a prime leader and I can only build off of that.”