The Los Angeles Clippers couldn’t outlast the Phoenix Suns in the Western Conference Finals, but it was by no fault of Paul George. The 7-time All-Star had to be both Batman and Robin for the Clips with Kawhi Leonard on the sidelines. 

George revealed how in order to carry that burden, he drew some motivation from a surprise source - Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James, no stranger himself to carrying a team on his own.

George was indeed LeBron James-esque in Game 5 against the Suns, putting up 41 points, 13 rebounds, and six assists to keep the Clippers alive for one more game. He spoke out about what his Lakers counterpart said during the regular season that struck a chord with him up until their last few games of the playoffs.

"I heard LeBron saying he's not 100% and won't ever be again and I thought about it. That was straight for me as well. It's tough, but it's part of this game. You gotta take it and be able to adapt."

In a postseason that has been defined by injuries to stars rather than the ones actually playing, James’ words ring true in the worst way. George was definitely playing with some nicks and bruises, as most players do when they reach that far into a season, but the loss of Kawhi Leonard was the problem that seemed insurmountable. 

Most people counted out the Clippers when news broke of Leonard’s ACL injury. After all, Paul George had been labeled “Playoff P” or “Pandemic P” in that his performance falls off when it mattered most. But after bringing the fight to the mostly healthy Phoenix Suns as the only true alpha on his team, Paul George has hopefully shut his haters up for good.


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