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Paul George: Jonas Valanciunas grabbed my throat, sparking tussle

INDIANAPOLIS -- Pacers forward Paul George took exception to Toronto Raptors center Jonas Valanciunas getting too physical with him down low during the fourth quarter of Indiana's 100-83 win in Game 4 on Saturday afternoon.

With 5:03 remaining in the game, George and Valanciunas jostled in the paint as Pacers center Ian Mahinmi hit the second of two free throws. Replays appeared to show that Valanciunas caught George around the neck area and then shoved him away.

George proceeded to get in the 7-footer's face, which prompted Raptors teammates to come to Valanciunas' aide. Toronto forward DeMarre Carroll was particularly enraged at George, and was trying to get him away from Valanciunas as the players exchanged words and had to be separated.

George and Valanciunas were whistled for a double technical foul. The officials also gave Carroll a technical.

"All night, Jonas was throwing his elbows and flinging his elbows and trying to lock arms, and it was almost the play before where he did the same thing and I let it slide and Ian shot a free throw," George said. "I crashed in and tried to get the rebound, and next thing you know, his hands once again are coming up toward my throat. I didn't like that."

Valanciunas denied any wrongdoing.

"I wasn't trying to hit him. It just happened," Valanciunas said.

Carroll said he was just trying to protect his teammate.

"Jonas, he doesn't know any better, he just plays physical. He plays hard. It's the playoffs. It's going to be physical," Carroll said. "Paul, I guess he tried to run up on Jonas, but we don't need any of that, man. I just tried to protect him, and that's all I can do."

Both coaches gave their views of the incident.

"I've got to figure out how we got a technical out of that whole scrum; I know it was just two guys barking at each other, but they get the free throw," Raptors coach Dwane Casey said. "I didn't really get an explanation from [referee] Danny [Crawford] about what happened.

"That's going to happen in a game that's not closely called -- a lot of physicality, frustration. We've got to keep our heads in that situation to make sure we're available to go back to the next game. That was our message to our guys: Don't lose your head, keep your cool and compete with poise."

Pacers coach Frank Vogel said, "Just playoff basketball. Just guys being physical and aggressive with each other. Sometimes that escalates. Our unofficial rule in those situations is to get that guy [in the skirmish] out of there. Don't go after the Raptors or the visiting team. Tell everybody that's not involved in the altercation to go get the guy that is. Save him from himself.

"And Ian, in particular, did a great job of getting PG and pulling him out of there. I guess we were rewarded with the free throw, but we don't ever want to escalate those situations because it leads to bad things like suspensions and what not. We don't need that, especially with our key guy."

George had made a point that Carroll was fouling him on his shots in Game 3.

"You know he made a complaint, talked to the refs. I don't know, I want to save my money, I like to keep my money. I've got a daughter and a son and I've got a family," Carroll said. "I wish it was the old days, the Detroit Pistons days, Bad Boys, but you know, they got some calls, we got some calls. You live with it."