Clippers’ title hopes in the hands of 'Playoff P'

Examining 2021’s Battle Royale of contenders, one at a time

BY DAVID THORPE

Not three years ago, Paul George had the playoff game of his life. Game 1 of the first round, Thunder v. Jazz, 2018. George made eight of 11 3s, scoring 33 points in a Thunder win. 

George was capping an almost-MVP season. Surely he had many playoff successes to follow. He was confident enough to give himself the nickname “Playoff P.” 

But the magic was short lived. George missed 15 of 21 shots the next game; the Jazz won the series in six. The following year, Damian Lillard made a series-winning highlight over George as the Thunder lost in the first round again. The Thunder decided to rebuild, and traded George to the Clippers. 

In Los Angeles, surely, he would be restored alongside Kawhi Leonard on a team that was a popular pick to win the championship. But this playoff thing nagged. In the 2020 playoffs George opened with three stinkers in his first four games. The bubble didn’t like George and George didn’t like the bubble. 

But in Game 5, he managed a huge 35-point out…

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