LA Clippers’ Paul George says group wasn’t ready sufficient in playoff collapse

Paul George mentioned the LA Clippers did not make any changes throughout their gorgeous NBA playoff meltdown final season after they blew a 3-1 second-round sequence result in the Denver Nuggets.

Showing on the “All The Smoke” podcast with Stephen Jackson and Matt Barnes, a candid George talked concerning the Clippers’ failure to do something to cease the bleeding as soon as Denver started its comeback, saying they have been “having the identical s— occur over and over.”

As coach Doc Rivers oversaw a blown 3-1 sequence lead for the second time throughout his Clippers tenure, George mentioned the group was not ready sufficient. He additionally mentioned {that a} lack of apply time resulting from accidents and circumstances through the season exacerbated the collapse as gamers have been compelled to attempt to iron out points on the court docket throughout playoff video games.

“It was robust as a result of we have been assured,” George instructed Jackson and Barnes when requested concerning the Clippers’ collapse. “We went up 3-1, we felt like, we will win the following one. We misplaced. We [were] like cool, we’re up 3-2, we gonna win the following one. We misplaced. However throughout that complete course of, we by no means labored on changes. We by no means labored on what to do in another way. We simply actually having the identical s— occur over and over. It began to play a trick on you want, man, what is going on on?

“We’re speaking amongst one another just like the dialog is, we’re going to be all proper. The dialog ought to have been like, nah, we have to change this, we have to change this up. I do not assume we deserved it. We wasn’t ready sufficient going into it. … We did not put the work into it. It was form of similar to, yo, we obtained PG, we obtained Kawhi [Leonard], Lou [Williams], Trezz [Montrezl Harrell]. We going to be straight; we’re going to determine it out.”

The Clippers misplaced three consecutive video games to Denver, falling in need of the championship expectations with which they entered the season. That led to the group parting methods with Rivers, who could not get the Clippers on the identical web page throughout a season filled with accidents, little apply time and fixed disruptions.

George, who missed the primary 11 video games of the common season earlier than returning and averaging 21.5 factors and 5.7 rebounds, mentioned his first season with the Clippers obtained off to a tough begin due to his lack of ability through the summer season of 2019 to coach like he usually does or take part in coaching camp together with his new group after shoulder surgical procedures.

“I missed that point in the summertime of taking part in pickup ball, hooping, getting right into a rhythm, getting right into a circulate, engaged on my recreation, the timing proper,” he mentioned. “So after I got here again and began taking part in once more, I simply felt off, like I did not really feel like part of the group.”

George additionally mentioned Rivers did not play to his strengths, saying he was utilized “like a Ray Allen or like a JJ Redick — all pindowns.”

“I can do it. However that ain’t my recreation,” George mentioned. “I want some circulate. I want some mixes of pick-and-rolls. I want some post-ups. Simply totally different touches. … And so, it was simply, that final season was simply laborious general.”

The Clippers are banking on Tyronn Lue, who replaces Rivers and strikes up from his lead assistant place final season, to enhance the group’s in-game technique and chemistry amongst Leonard, George and the Clippers’ function gamers. Lue mentioned a significant distinction this season that ought to assist the chemistry is having Leonard and George wholesome and taking part in coaching camp.

“Simply so far as me speaking to Kawhi, he’s excited to get again on the court docket,” Lue mentioned Wednesday. “If you find yourself coping with nice gamers, once you lose early on within the playoffs, you might be all the time wanting to get again. That’s what nice gamers do. All of us failed at our aim final season, and everyone knows that.

“Kawhi has achieved an ideal job of taking [initiative] to get guys on the telephone, speaking to guys, seeing guys extra,” Lue added. “He has achieved an ideal job of that. He’s excited to get again on the ground simply from speaking to him, and we’re all excited, as nicely.”

Lue isn’t any stranger to coping with superstars and attempting to carry them accountable. He received two championships as a Los Angeles Lakers participant alongside Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal and one other title as a coach whereas guiding LeBron James with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Lue and George have mentioned the Clippers want much more time collectively on the ground in practices. George mentioned that was a significant motive why the Clippers have been typically not on the identical web page and could possibly be seen barking at each other at occasions through the playoffs.

“I relate it to we did not apply throughout the entire 12 months, and that’s laborious to do if you end up placing a contemporary new group of fellows collectively,” George mentioned. “The issues you will have throughout video games, these s— might be ironed out in apply. You’ll bump heads in apply, however you’ll come out of that apply like, ‘OK, I perceive this dude. I do know the place he’s coming from.’ When it occurred throughout video games, it’s going to rub a bit in another way.

“It’s laborious to come back again from that, particularly within the playoffs. Then you might be like, ‘OK, that’s what he is on. So all proper, I obtained you.’ That’s form of how the group, that’s how we was and the way we went about it after stuff began unfolding and unraveling.”

The Clippers return to camp this week a distinct group with Rivers gone to the Philadelphia 76ers, Harrell signing with the Lakers and JaMychal Green becoming a member of the Nuggets. The Clippers added Serge Ibaka and Luke Kennard through free agency and commerce.

George mentioned this season will get off to a distinct begin simply because he and Leonard will likely be more healthy and might work with the complete group.

“I believe for this 12 months, all people is beginning off on a wholesome web page, we’re beginning off on the identical web page,” George mentioned. “Me and Kawhi are going to get a while collectively understanding. I believe every little thing is simply not rushed going into the season.”

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