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Nate McMillan, Paul George take shots at officials after loss to Bulls

Fines will likely follow for the Pacers coach and star player after another bad night in Chicago.

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Indiana Pacers v Chicago Bulls Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

After another tough loss at the United Center, the Pacers slipped two games below .500

Nate McMillan started in on the officiating, simply requesting his team get more respect. The Pacers had a -18 free throw attempt differential which included Paul George shooting just one from the charity stripe

McMillan wasn’t looking for superstar treatment for PG, just some balance, at Nate Taylor reported.

“Call it fair,” McMillan said. “I’m not talking about superstar treatment. With those guys, you’ve got to be aggressive, the players that are really good in the league. You’ve got to be aggressive and you play physical and that’s the way (the Bulls) play (George). He’s not getting any — any — calls. I think it’s ridiculous that he plays 39 minutes and he shoots one free throw. They shoot 28 free throws. We shoot 10. They’ve got to call the touching and that physical play on both ends.”

Paul George then took it further after another frustrating night at the United Center, much like Miami’s American Airlines Arena, where the calls rarely go the Pacers’ way. PG blamed it on the uniform and even trotted out a little conspiracy theory.

“I’ve been fined multiple times,” George said. “I’ve been vocal to the point where the league issues a, ‘Hey, we missed a call.’ Officials do it during games: “I missed that call. I missed this call. We’re sorry, we’re sorry.” It’s getting repetitive. They see it. They know what’s going on. They know what’s a foul. They know what’s not a foul. It comes down from somewhere else how’s these games are going, I believe.”

As for the numbers, the Pacers rank 22nd in free throw attempts per game, at 22.4 FTAs per game. But in the three games against Chicago so far this season, the Bulls averaged 24.7 FTAs to the Pacers 10.3 FTAs. We’ll see if that differential tightens on Friday when the teams wrap up their season series at the Fieldhouse.

No doubt PG’s post-game angst about Indiana getting shafted throughout his career will generate another round of ‘PG is leaving’ stories with people projecting their feelings onto PG without any actual knowledge. George has complained in similar fashion before during the playoffs against the Heat, although in that case he felt the team was penalized for being too aggressive. That’s not something he could say after last night.

Effort goes a long way toward earning calls in the NBA and the aggressor often earns the benefit of the whistle. There were plenty of opportunities in the game last night for the Pacers to be the aggressor but far more stretches when they were not. Trying to flip the switch after falling behind is a tough time to expect the calls to even out. This clip from the first half shows the lulls in effort PG needs to worry about more than the officials.

The problem exposed in Chicago is something that will continue until the Pacers in general, and PG in particular, start playing better and with some sense of urgency on a consistent basis.

After the last three losses, it is hard to envision when they never flip that switch for good this season.