Paul George explains what went wrong in Clippers-Mavericks series

Paul George and the Los Angeles Clippers fell to the Dallas Mavericks in the first round, marking the second consecutive year that the Clippers have been eliminated in the first round. On the latest episode of his podcast, George explained what went wrong for the Clippers.

“I think we relied on too much isolation, which their whole game-plan was to load up and force someone else to make plays and force other people to shoot,” George explained. “So, they were sending multiple defenders, they were plugging, they were forcing, kind of shutting the lane off by coming over and fake doubles, sending doubles. I think they were mixing a lot of coverage up, which was making it hard to catch a rhythm.”

George added what the Clippers should have done differently against the Mavs.

“We should have played a lot quicker. We should have tried to get in transition more,” he said. “We should have, after rebounds, tried to get out and run the lanes and we should have played on the second side, forced the ball to reverse a couple times, where we could attack with our ISO players.”

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The Clippers won Game 1 of the series but only managed to win one more over the next five games. George averaged 19.5 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 4.8 assists during the series, while shooting 41.1% from the field. 

Those aren’t exactly acceptable statistics, knowing what the Clippers typically expect from George (particularly in Kawhi Leonard’s absence). He had an impressive 33-point performance in Game 4 that propelled the Clippers to their other win, but he was otherwise underwhelming.

George’s performance could factor into what the Clippers are willing to offer him his offseason should he opt for free agency. George has a player option worth $48,787,676, and he can test unrestricted free agency. 

When asked about George’s future, Clippers president of basketball operations Lawrence Frank made it clear that they want to keep him. However, the two sides haven’t been able to agree on an extension.

“We want to retain those guys,” Frank said of George and James Harden. “We’re hopeful we can. But also understand and respect the fact that they’re free agents. Paul has a decision with his option. James will be an unrestricted free agent. So, our intent is to bring them back, but also realize that they are elite players and they’ll have choices.”

“I think that we want Paul, we value Paul,” Frank added. “Paul’s done some tremendous things here. He’s an elite player and our biggest thing is, we always want to be able to treat players well and pay them fairly, and we also have to build out a team, especially this is a new CBA. But in terms of the exact money, I would never go into details other than that we’ve had really really good conversations over the course of the year and hopeful that we can get him to remain a Clipper.”

As Frank mentioned, the Clippers have to think about whether this core will bring them a title. Even if it’s due to factors that’s outside of their control, it’s worth noting that the Clippers have not won a playoff series since making their first Western Conference Finals run in 2021.

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