Paul George is leading the league in offensive fouls drawn during the postseason. Not just all other players. He, literally, has taken more charges as an individual than any of the other 15 playoff teams, per NBA.com's hustle stats.
The discipline required to make this impressive number possible goes a long way toward explaining why DeMar DeRozan has attempted far fewer free throw attempts per game in this series (3.8) than he did during the regular season (8.4). For instance, take this play from the fourth quarter of Game 4. Here, instead of allowing his hands to get caught in the cookie jar, George sets his feet, crosses his arms, and braces for impact.
"We've got to be smart against offense-initiated contact," Frank Vogel told the Indy Star's Nate Taylor ahead of his team's final regular season meeting with the Toronto Raptors back on April 8. "It's something that the league has got to look at in terms of the James Hardens and the DeMar DeRozans of the world that are going to swing their arms through defenders. If you don't have discipline with their hands and you don't make an effort to pull your arms out of those situations, they're going to rightfully go to the free-throw line. We haven't done a good job of that."
The Pacers weren't doing a "good job" of it then, but Paul George certainly is now.
The All-NBA defender's wide defensive stance and lengthy wingspan has been an obstacle to DeRozan's drive-heavy game from the get-go this series. No matter how much Toronto's shooting guard "doth protest" George's defense as the source of his frustration and frigid shooting, this play from Game 1, where he leads with his shoulder, says otherwise.
George has only blocked half as many shots (3) as he has drawn offensive fouls (6); however, his willingness to slide over and absorb contact may be a bigger deterrent to those considering entering the painted area. Taking a charge results not only in a missed scoring opportunity but also a personal foul.
It is impressive that Indiana's franchise star has baited his All-Star opponent into taking bad shots while being one of only two players to average at least 25 points, five rebounds, and three assists in the postseason, but the fact that he's doing both, while putting his body on the line, after missing almost the entirety of last season due to a gruesome leg injury, is...wow, just wow.