Paul George believes he’s ready to take on LeBron James and the Lakers this season after faltering in the bubble last year.
Paul George had one of his best outings as a Clippers player, offsetting one of Kawhi’s worst as the Clippers held on to beat the league-leading Suns 112-107. Kawhi was wretched all night, making just 4 of his 21 shots for 15 points. But George bailed the Clippers out with 39 points on 24 shots. He made 7 of his 10 3-pointers too.
As a unit, the Clippers shot an efficient 58.6% (17 of 29) from the 3-point line. They were on fire in the first half, totalling 64 points and holding Phoenix to only 44.
Midway through the 4th quarter, with the score at 98-94, George had a tiff with Devin Booker. The Suns guard was indignant with the Clippers star for what he perceived as a soft fall on a contest from Ayton. The two , and were given a double technical for their troubles.
George and the Clippers did manage to hold on to their lead to take the game. The crucial play of the final minute was by Paul George, setting Nicolas Batum for the open left corner 3-pointer. This took the score to 110-104 with 10 seconds left, putting the game out of the Suns’ reach.
Paul George on being trashtalked by fans and opponents
Speaking about his struggles last season, Paul George said the following in his on-court interview postgame:
“I don’t know man. I had a tough year last year. People think it’s sweet man, people think it’s sweet cuz I was down. I didn’t hear none of this my 10 years in the league, but last year, people living on that last year. Gotta answer to that. I gotta be ready for that, and you know, I’m ready to compete. I’m back.”
Paul George on his struggles last season;
“I didn’t hear none of this my 10 years in the league…But people living on that last year.”pic.twitter.com/FtJZDMj3vB
— Hoop Central (@TheHoopCentral) January 4, 2021
For all of the Lakers’ vaunted offseason moves, the Clippers quietly improved themselves in all departments. Serge Ibaka has been great on both sides of the floor. Kennard is providing valuable spacing and good energy on defense and Nic Batum has slotted effortlessly into the starting lineup.