Clippers' Paul George on Potential Lakers Playoff Matchup: 'We Are Worried About Us'May 5, 2021
Los Angeles Clippers star Paul George isn't focused on the possibility of facing the rival Los Angeles Lakers in the first round of the playoffs.
When asked by ESPN's Ohm Youngmisuk about that potential matchup, George said: "Too much going on. Still what, six games left? We are still trying to move up regardless of what [the] Lakers are doing. We are worried about us."
If the playoffs began today, the Clippers and Lakers would meet in a huge first-round clash. The Clips are third in the Western Conference with a 44-22 record, while the Lakers are tied for fifth and officially in sixth via tiebreaker at 37-28.
Last season, it was widely expected that the Clippers and Lakers would clash in the Western Conference Finals, but the Clippers didn't make it that far. They blew a 3-1 series lead and fell to the Denver Nuggets in the second round of the playoffs.
As a result, the Lakers breezed past the Nuggets and then the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals to win a championship.
The Clips have a chance to go on a deep run this season with both George and Kawhi Leonard playing at a high level, although the team isn't without its warts.
On Tuesday, the Clippers snapped a three-game losing streak with a 105-100 win over the Toronto Raptors. Head coach Ty Lue hasn't gotten the type of production out of the supporting cast around George and Leonard that he likely hoped for or expected.
As a result, the Clippers could be ripe for the picking if they run into a dangerous team in the playoffs, and the Lakers fit that description.
The Lakers have not been among the elite teams in the Western Conference for much of the season because of the fact that Anthony Davis and LeBron James have missed a significant amount of time with injuries.
AD has been limited to 30 games and LeBron has played in just 43, meaning there haven't been many occasions over the past couple of months that head coach Frank Vogel has had his full allotment of weapons.
The Lakers are in a tough spot in that keeping Davis and James healthy for the playoffs is important, but so is staying in the top six in the Western Conference since teams seeded seventh through 10th must compete in play-in games.
For now, the Lakers are tied with the fifth-place Dallas Mavericks and are one game ahead of the seventh-place Portland Trail Blazers, meaning they are far from assured of a top-six position.
If it does work out that the Clippers finish with the third seed and the Lakers finish sixth, it would mark one of the biggest first-round playoff series of all time.
Regardless of what George said, the Clippers would be in danger of a first-round exit as well, especially if the Lakers have Davis, James, Andre Drummond, Dennis Schroder, Kyle Kuzma and Montrezl Harrell all healthy and available for the series.