Paul George is a fantastic NBA player whose journey in the league has been one of the most inspiring of the modern era. Drafted by the Indiana Pacers in 2010, George was touted for his potential to be an elite defender and was intended to be the complement to Danny Granger’s star in Indiana’s rebuild. Like his teammate Kawhi Leonard, he worked hard while flying under the radar to achieve so much more, eventually becoming an NBA superstar and MVP candidate just two seasons ago despite the gruesome injury that set him back a few years prior.
Unfortunately, Paul has been on the opposite end of some of the most historic plays in NBA Playoff history. From LeBron’s game-winning layup in the Eastern Conference Finals nearly a decade ago to Dame waving him goodbye after hitting what George called “a bad shot” shortly after in the post-game presser, the self-ordained “Playoff P” has run into some bad luck in high-pressure moments.
You can forgive someone for being unlucky, but a bad response to difficult events is a lot less easy to forgive. After what was considered to be an embarrassing first two games against the visiting Mavericks, Paul did not exactly do himself any favors when asked about the situation the Clippers face down 0-2 with the series heading back to Dallas.
“There is no level of concern, we just gotta play our game and get through this.”Paul George, post game interview
Is anyone surprised Paul George said yet another absurd thing? But this time, it was not just George who seemed to brush off the team’s predicament. Clippers coach Ty Lue also asserted in his post-game interview that it was just a matter of winning one game and that it would be easier to do so down two games because no one expects them to win at this point. While Lue may have his own opinion on the matter, this set the NBA universe on fire yesterday, with several reputable media members, including former players, keen to chime in on the subject. The most animated of them all was ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith, who took to First Take to try and give Lue and George a reality check.
“Paul George and Ty Lue need to stop lying to the American public. Of course there is a reason for concern, they got spanked by the Dallas Mavericks in two games. Luka Doncic has been giving it to them, he’s been embarrassing them.”Stephen A. Smith, SportsCenter
Stephen A. Smith is absolutely correct here, and to think that there is no reason to be concerned is alarming for Clippers fans. After losing the opening game on their home floor, the Los Angeles Clippers came out in Game 2, lacking a sense of urgency from anyone not named Kawhi Leonard. Paul George had a great game offensively as the number-two guy but failed to make life difficult for Luka. As Robert Horry and Vince Carter alluded to in the jump, it’s going to be tough to see the Clippers coming back from it after losing two games at home and giving up their home-court advantage.
“A lot of things need to happen, it’s tough” – Vince Carter on The JumpVince Carter, The Jump
The tough part is that we are just speaking of the Clippers’ shortcomings here and not even focusing on how Dallas has been rolling leading up to this series while seemingly being extra motivated due to the notion that the Clippers tanked the last week of the season to secure what they believed to be a favorable matchup in the first round.
Perhaps that is why Paul George is not concerned yet, but with potential free agency on the way for him and Kawhi Leonard, no one will be blaming Leonard for the loss as much as they would George. So Paul George may not be concerned about being down two games in the first round, but a first-round exit may bring forth some consequences that could be alarming.