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#pounditThursday, March 4, 2021

Articles tagged: Paul George

Four players who could swing the NBA playoffs

Paul George

The NBA playoffs have the uncanny ability to render a player’s body of work throughout the season meaningless, as players are often solely evaluated on their performances from when the stakes are at their highest. Certain players have the ability to bounce back from underwhelming regular seasons and silence their doubters in the postseason.

These are the players primed with the ability to overcome slow starts to their seasons and potentially alter this year’s championship race.

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Paul George admits he played through ‘insecurities’ early in season

Paul George

Paul George’s numbers have been down a bit this year with the Los Angeles Clippers. Part of that is likely down to him sharing the floor with the likes of Kawhi Leonard, but there may have been another reason as well.

George said he played through “insecurities” early in the season stemming from offseason shoulder surgery. George added that he is now back to his best, but didn’t feel completely right physically throughout a portion of the season.

George didn’t debut with the Clippers until Nov. 14. While he had a handful of big games in 2019, he also had a lot of games where he didn’t hit the 20-point mark. In fact, since the start of February, he’s averaging a modest 17.5 points per game, though he’s played only 26.9 minutes per night during that span.

George admitted he was shying away from contact early in the season. If he’s feeling as good as he says now, that will be a big boost to the Clippers’ title chances.

Paul George shares how close he and Russell Westbrook are

Paul George

Paul George and Russell Westbrook teamed up on the Oklahoma City Thunder for two seasons before George sought a trade to the LA Clippers. George’s trade also led the team to deal Westbrook and break up the Thunder as we knew them.

During his time in OKC, George became extremely close with Westbrook.

“I was only (in OKC) two years. But you know, during those two years I loved Russ as a brother,” George said during an appearance on Kevin Hart’s ‘Cold as Balls’ program. “I have so much love for Russ. I mean, I was the first phone call after I had word of what was going on and the possibility of leaving, and I had that call with him. You know, he supported me 100 percent. We talked it out and we made the moves necessary to go elsewhere.”

Westbrook ended up traded to Houston while George teamed up with Kawhi Leonard on the Clippers.

Westbrook showed all kinds of support to George. He threw him a party to get him to agree to re-sign with the team. Westbrook also backed George heavily over an All-Star snub in PG’s first season with OKC, which made a big impression on George. After that kind of support, you can understand why George still feels the brotherly love from Westbrook even though they’re on different teams now.

Mystery player Paul George told Pacers to trade for was Anthony Davis

Paul George

Paul George opened up this week about why he requested a trade from the Indiana Pacers three years ago, and the star swingman said a lot of it had to do with a fellow All-Star wanting to play for the Pacers and the team not making an attempt to acquire him. Now, we know who that unnamed player was.

George said he was angry with the Pacers over their unwillingness to explore a trade for “the best power forward” in the NBA. While George didn’t name the player, J. Michael of the Indy Star reports that George was referring to Anthony Davis. However, the situation may have been more complicated than George made it sound.

Davis had two years remaining on his contract at the time, and he reportedly would not commit to Indiana beyond that. Michael went on to note that the Pacers probably did not have enough to offer to entice the New Orleans Pelicans to trade Davis to them.

George said last year that he was going to eventually tell the full story of why he left the Pacers, and it sounds like their inability to acquire Davis was the biggest factor. We’ll never know how much effort Indiana made to land Davis, but they would not be the first franchise that was unwilling to mortgage their entire future for one player.

Of course, it should be noted that George butted heads with the Pacers over their desire to play him at the power forward position. That likely added to his frustration when they were unable or unwilling to trade for Davis.

Paul George shares why he asked out of Indiana

Paul George

Paul George’s time with the Indiana Pacers ended in a fairly messy split, but it turns out that he may have had good reason for handling things like he did.

Appearing this week on the “Knuckleheads” podcast, the LA Clippers star revealed why he asked for a trade from the Pacers in the summer of 2017.

“I ain’t gon’ say the names, because I’m going to keep their business private, I’ma just say it like this,” George said, according to RealGM. “I had at the time, the best power forward saying he wanted to come to Indy and team up with me. They’re like, ‘We’re a mid-major, we’re a small market, like, we can’t do it … we can’t afford that.’ I’m like the best power forward wants to come play here, like, y’all can’t make that work? They didn’t want to do it.

“So I’m like, now I’m pissed, because it’s like, what am I doing here? You know what I mean? They don’t want to win,” the six-time All-Star continued. “I’ve got the best power forward that wants to come play here. Not everybody chooses Indy to come play here.”

George did not reveal who the player was, though a Pacers reporter says the player was Anthony Davis. Davis was not a free agent at the time and would have cost the team a lot in trade compensation, with no promises of him re-signing, so the team’s reluctant to make a trade was understandable.

George butted heads with the Pacers over their desire to play him at the power forward spot. The team declining a chance to add a top talent at that very same position might very well have been the last straw for George.

George ended up demanding a trade and was dealt to the Thunder. He later demanded a trade from OKC and was dealt to the Clippers last summer.

5 NBA players who can lead their teams to the title

Giannis Antetokounmpo

The NBA playoffs are often full of remarkable performances, with one player taking over a game and dragging his team over the line. After all, we’ve seen it plenty of times over the year, from Michael Jordan to Kobe Bryant to LeBron James and many more.

Who are those players now? Here are five who could, if they take over a game or series, be good enough to lead their team to the NBA Finals — and even win a championship when the season resumes in Orlando this summer.

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Paul George thinks Clippers are set at trade deadline

Paul George

The Los Angeles Clippers are reportedly looking to make at least one significant move before Thursday’s trade deadline, but Paul George does not believe they have to.

George told reporters after the Clippers’ win over the San Antonio Spurs on Monday that he believes his team’s locker room is “in a good place.” He also said he hopes the roster remains the same down the stretch.

Even after a massive offseason that saw them acquire George and Kawhi Leonard, the Clippers are still exploring ways to improve. They are 35-15 and have the second-best record in the Western Conference, but there have been questions about how their frontcourt will match up against that of the Lakers in a seven-game series.

While the Clippers will be fine if they don’t make any big moves, there have been indications that they are expected to acquire a wing or a big. Maurice Harkless is one player who could be moved if they make a deal.

Clippers fans, show everyone who runs Los Angeles with this great “We Run LA” shirt:

Video: Paul George takes elbow to face, still helps Clippers win

Paul George

Paul George took a big elbow to the face during the third quarter of Monday night’s game against the San Antonio Spurs, but it didn’t prevent him from stepping up late for the Clippers.

George was trying to defend a driving DeMar DeRozan in the paint and got elbowed in the nose.

George was bleeding from his nose and went to the locker room for treatment before returning with some absorbing product stuffed up his nose.

George had 19 points, 12 rebounds and 8 assists. His step-back with 13.7 seconds left helped ice the team.

George scored eight of his 18 in the fourth quarter.

Clippers fans, show everyone who runs Los Angeles with this great “We Run LA” shirt:

Report: Some Clippers have struggled with superstar treatment of Kawhi Leonard, Paul George

Kawhi Leonard

The LA Clippers instantly became title contenders when they traded for Paul George and signed Kawhi Leonard over the summer. Leonard had just led the Toronto Raptors to the championship and was named NBA Finals MVP. George was having an MVP-type season until he was derailed by shoulder injuries. Adding to the two players was a huge, franchise-changing coup for the Clippers.

But as great as the addition of both players has been for the organization, it has also brought new problems to the team.

Leonard and George are superstars, and superstars often receive star treatment. That is definitely the case with Kawhi, who adheres to a load/injury management schedule and often misses games even when the perception is that he is healthy.

Last season’s Clippers won 48 games and took two games off a vastly superior Warriors team in the playoffs. Many attributed the team’s success last season to their tough attitude and hard-nosed style of play. The load-management style is in contrast with the hard and grinding style the team had the season before.

That change in ethos, coupled with some of the star treatment Leonard and George receive, has been a difficult adjustment for some Clippers players, according to a report published Thursday by The Athletic’s Jovan Buha and Sam Amick.

From the article:

Off the court, sources say there are some teammates who have struggled with the organization’s preferential treatment that is afforded to Leonard and George.

The entire article is very much worth your time.

A team needing to make this kind of an adjustment to having superstars is part of the process when you acquire players like Leonard and George. It’s not an easy transition, and that’s what makes it challenging for superteams to win in their first season together. But if anyone knows what it takes to win it all, it’s Leonard. And while it’s frustrating to see the preferential treatment at times, the Clippers should trust that things will work out overall.

Clippers fans, show everyone who runs Los Angeles with this great “We Run LA” shirt:

Kawhi Leonard, Paul George met at Drake’s house to discuss teaming up

The two face-to-face meetings that helped unite Kawhi Leonard and Paul George on the Los Angeles Clippers took place in a rather surprising spot.

Leonard and George had numerous discussions about joining together to play for the Clippers while Leonard was a free agent, but the pair only met in person twice while working through the process. Those meetings took place at rapper Drake’s house in Hidden Hills, California, according to Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.

The reason for this? Drake and Leonard had become friends during Leonard’s tenure with the Toronto Raptors. When Leonard visited Los Angeles to meet with teams, Drake permitted the forward to stay at his house, which is how Leonard and George ended up congregating there.

This actually fits with reporting at the time stating that Leonard had the Lakers move a meeting from El Segundo to Westlake Village in order to meet with George afterward. Hidden Hills is roughly an hour closer to Westlake Village, so it would make sense for this to be true.

The funny part about this is Drake is a well-known Raptors superfan who would have wanted to see Leonard stay in Toronto. In the end, his hospitality appears to have made it easier for Leonard to leave for Los Angeles, though that likely would have happened anyway.