In a recent interview with ESPN’s Rachel Nichols, Los Angeles Lakers forward Paul George was questioned about his decision to leave the Indiana Pacers. He said his decision was all about winning, and he was glad to be going to a “faster” team that could put him in more favorable matchups. He added that he felt he had a chance to be the best at his position in the league.
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The Indiana Pacers have been on a huge winning streak, a streak which includes a 21-point comeback against the Houston Rockets which included a rare off-the-backboard buzzer beater by Paul George. There’s little doubt that PG has had a breakout season, and his ability to step up his game (and make big plays) as the season has progressed has led to his being called a superstar. However, the Houston Rockets play in a relatively small market, and the All-Star game is the furthest thing from the minds of many fans.. Read more about paul george and let us know what you think.Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals will not be a pleasant memory for Los Angeles Clippers star Paul George. In a game that remained within reach for both teams, the Phoenix Suns led by six points with 2:56 to play before the Clippers rallied to take a one-point lead. George had a chance to be the hero and give Los Angeles a three-point lead with 8.2 seconds left.
Two free throws were all the Clippers needed. George had this. A player who makes 89.2% of his free throws in the playoffs doesn’t miss them. He converted two shots from the line, giving Los Angeles a 103-102 lead. After George converted his shots, Phoenix needed only enough three-pointers to tie the game. But he missed the first free throw. That misstep opened the door for the Suns, at least a little. George then made up for his mistake by shooting a second free throw into the opposite corner.
Phoenix won 104-103 on a fantastic alley-oop from Jay Crowder to Deandre Ayton to take a 2-0 lead in the series. In the process, the oft-criticized George has likely reinforced his opinion of his status in the NBA’s star hierarchy.
In July 2017, Paul George got his wish. George joined the Oklahoma City Thunder after coming over from the Indiana Pacers, where he played his first seven seasons. It was a calculated gamble for Thunder. Teams with a small market should think twice about signing a star at the end of his contract.
OKC’s efforts have paid off. The following summer, George signed a four-year max contract to remain with the Thunder. But a year later, George landed in Los Angeles. Superstar Kawhi Leonard, who was just voted NBA Finals MVP, wanted George to sign with the Clippers.
Scrutiny has gone after George before. George, who was picked 10th overall in the 2010 NBA Draft, had to live up to his role in Indiana. He was the NBA’s most valuable player in 2012 and 2013 and was also named the NBA’s best player. George was recovering from a foot injury that could have affected his career while training with USA Basketball for the 2014 FIBA World Cup.
In December 2020, George waived his player option for 2021-22 and signed a four-year, $190 million extension starting next season. It’s superstar money.
But the $190 million question is this: Is Paul George a superstar?
Paul George’s career with the Pacers ended in 2017 after a lackluster season. Indiana was defeated in the first round by the Cleveland Cavaliers and lost its fourth home game by four points. That’s a remarkable feat when you consider that George scored just 5 of his 21 points in the game and threw four steals.
George was very inconsistent in the playoffs last year. In 13 games, he scored 30 or more points three times. He has scored fewer than 20 points in seven games, including a nine-point loss in Game 4 of the first round against the Dallas Mavericks. George scored 4 of 16 points in Game 7 and 10 points in the Denver Nuggets’ second-round victory over the Clippers. It was a series in which Los Angeles led 3-1 before losing.
George played a key role in this year’s semifinal against the Utah Jazz. In Leonard’s absence the last two games, George scored 65 points to help the Clippers beat the West’s scoring leader. This is the first time they have reached the conference finals.
Los Angeles lost the first game despite George’s 34 points. Then came the free throws that the entire NBA has heard about. The six-time NBA MVP, who hit 84.7 percent of his free throws in his career, needs to hit these types of shots. You can forgive Shaquille O’Neal’s inaccurate free throws because he never hit them well. George has no foothold to lean on.
Los Angeles Clippers guard Paul George (13) misses the first of two free throws during Game 2 of the NBA Western Conference Finals against the Phoenix Suns. | Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images
In two wins against the Jazz, Paul George has yet to have a decisive moment late in the game.
But in the first game against the Suns, Phoenix, without Chris Paul, took the lead in the fourth quarter and won 120-114 in a game that was tied after three periods. George scored one point on 0-for-5 shooting in the fourth period. He then had a good fourth quarter in the second game, but was let down by his shaky free throw percentage in the final moments of the game. Los Angeles won Game 6 by 12 points after losing an 8-point lead in Game 5.
It’s hard not to come to the conclusion that Paul George is a star player in the NBA. But the term superstar is overused – it goes too far.
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