Paul George, Nate McMillan ejected in Pacers’ loss to Utah

Both Paul George and coach Nate McMillan were ejected Saturday in Utah.

It wasn’t a pleasant end to a three-game road trip out West for the Indiana Pacers (22-21). In Utah, with cold temperatures and plenty of snowfall, Pacers star Paul George and head coach Nate McMillan were ejected in the fourth quarter of their 109-100 loss to the Jazz.

George, a three-time NBA All-Star who is easily annoyed by officiating, had never been ejected prior to this season. Now he’s been tossed twice this season. On Saturday night, at the Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City, it came when he had a few choice words with the officials after being whistled for his sixth foul — and thus disqualified anyway. Six minutes and 41 seconds still remained on the clock.

“Bad calls,” he said postgame as to what led to his early foul trouble. “I take credit for two of them. You’re telling me these guys, three guys guarding me end up with three fouls total? It’s crazy. It’s nonsense.”

Asked a follow-up question, George — who finished with 19 points, four rebounds, and two assists in 29 minutes — was ready to move on and prevent another fine.

“Ummm,” he paused, almost certainly thinking about potential consequences.

“Honestly, ask me about the game. Don’t ask me anything about officials right now, because they’re bad. Talk to me about the game.”

Coach McMillan joined George in the locker room with 2:10 left in the game after he voiced his displeasure with what he felt was another missed call as Myles Turner tried to block out. It was his second technical foul of the game. His first came at the 8:56 mark of the fourth quarter when he stood up for George after a no-call.

“We know that rebounding is a challenge for us,” McMillan calmly said afterwards. “The first thing that we tell our guys is we need to box out, and we need to smash. And when you’re boxing out and guys are coming over your back, that’s a foul. I thought that several times Myles is trying to hold his position, he’s getting pushed down low. If I can see it from my angle, you go over the back…”

He then wisely pivoted.

“[Rudy] Gobert is long, but there’s some times he’s going over the back and he’s pushing and Myles is trying to hold his position that there.”

George and McMillan were each fined — 15,000 and 10,000, respectively — for their public criticism of officiating following their comments in a 90-85 loss on Dec. 26 in Chicago.

Prior to this game, McMillan, in his first year directing the Pacers, had been issued two technicals. Now he has another two, and will be out at least another $4,000 — $2,000 per technical. George entered the game with four technical fouls.

George’s first career ejection occurred on November 5th in a blowout home win over the Chicago Bulls. Again, he was frustrated with a foul call. This time, it came late in the third period. When he kicked the ball in frustration, it went into the stands. That’s a no-no.

He later sent flowers to the FOX Sports Indiana crew member who was hit by the ball in the third row.

The Pacers return to action Monday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse against the New York’s Knicks — in a game that will air nationally on TNT. Tip-off is at 8:00 pm ET.

Note: The three officials were #14 Ed Malloy, #32 Marat Kogut, and #47 Bennie Adams.

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