Los Angeles Clippers forward Paul George said he wasn't concerned with trying to keep pace with the Phoenix Suns' trash talk during Thursday night's game.
George, who scored a game-high 33 points in the Clippers' 113-103 win, told reporters about his team's mindset:
"We focused on us. I don't know what that chirp is about. We focused on us. I don't care what they're doing over there. I don't care who they are or what they're doing.
"I'm locked in. They can do the chirping, I let them have it tonight. I just stayed in my zone, stayed in my place, I don't know. ... I don't care what they're doing. We're focused on us over here. We're focused on getting better. Tonight was a fun matchup, and we appreciate the challenge."
It was an important victory for L.A. (35-18), which moved within two games of Phoenix (36-15) for second place in the Western Conference. The Clips have won three straight games and nine of their past 11 contests.
While the Clippers put together one of their most complete offensive performances of the season, shooting 50 percent from the field, knocking down 18 threes and posting a 26-10 assist-to-turnover ratio, most of the focus afterward was the consistent verbal exchanges.
George described it as "people just living in the past," and Los Angeles head coach Ty Lue said there's nothing wrong with a little extra emotion in a big game:
"I don't have any concerns. I love it. When you are competing at a high level against one of the best teams in the league, do what you go to do to win. And I thought our guys were physical. We competed, we fought. ...
"There are going to be games like this where it is going to be chippy. They are fighting for something, we are fighting for something, so it is going to happen, and I am OK with it."
Along with the chirping, there was plenty of physical play, with the Suns' Devin Booker getting a technical foul and the Clippers' Patrick Beverley getting ejected for a hard foul on Chris Paul.
"I love to chat a little bit, and they pretty much started it in the first half," Clippers guard Rajon Rondo said. "So other than that I was just trying to play the game, but sometimes it involves a little bit of chatter."
The teams will meet again April 28 in Phoenix for the final game of the regular-season series, and it could be a crucial matchup in the race for seeding atop the West.
In addition, the foundation is laid for a highly entertaining series if the sides eventually face off in the playoffs.