Paul George was upset over a lack of a foul call at the end of his Los Angeles Clippers’ 103-101 loss to the Lakers on Thursday night.
George scored 30 points and was 6 of 11 on threes in the game, but he couldn’t come through at the very end.
The Clippers star connected from deep to tie the game at 101 with just under 30 seconds left. LeBron James followed with a bucket to put the Lakers up by two — a basket that would go down as the game-winner.
But the Clippers had the final shot, and after Kawhi Leonard was stifled by James, he passed to George. George then attempted a leaning 3-pointer that hit off the iron and missed.
Knowing the game was over, a desperate George tried to plead for a foul call.
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.
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.
Paul George said he felt "insecurities" throughout the season because his repaired shoulders didn't feel quite right. He says he now feels "great again."
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.
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.
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.
I keep getting Blake Griffin comments over this. It was NOT him. PG is referring to Anthony Davis who had a couple yrs left on his deal. No commitment to #Pacers beyond that and a team gutting itself to get AD and then having to compete w/Lakers in free agency made it a no-go https://t.co/cJ1BppN6L2
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.
The other hitch …dealing for AD wasn’t that simple. If AD wanted to come to Indy and stay he would’ve gotten every penny allowed by the CBA. The other team has to value wha you’re offering above all others https://t.co/oyUMwWbiVQ
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.
“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.
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.