Paul George Says Clippers Aren't Facing More Pressure After Game 1 Loss vs. Mavericks

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVMay 22, 2021

Los Angeles Clippers guard Paul George, right, complains about a call as forward Kawhi Leonard stands by during the second half in Game 1 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series against the Dallas Mavericks Saturday, May 22, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill

The Los Angeles Clippers are under the microscope after blowing a 3-1 lead to the Denver Nuggets in the second round of the playoffs last season, but Paul George doesn't think they are facing any more pressure than the rest of the teams in the league even after Saturday's loss to the Dallas Mavericks.

"We got the same pressure every team has [in playoffs]," he said after the 113-103 loss, per Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN. "We want to be the last team one standing. We got to do better in Game 2. I plan for this team bouncing back."

George figured to face more pressure than most considering he struggled during that Nuggets series and is still looking for the first championship of his career.

It seemed to be more of the same in Saturday's Game 1 when he started just 1-of-7 from the field, but he played much better in the second half and finished with 23 points, six rebounds and five assists.

He hit a go-ahead three in the fourth quarter, tied the game with a stepback jumper with just more than three minutes remaining and seemed to play better as the pressure increased.

However, the team as a whole scored just five points in the final six minutes, which allowed the Mavericks to seize control down the stretch and steal home-court advantage in the series. It would be easy to suggest the pressure got to the Clippers when the game was on the line, especially when Dallas made it a point to get the ball out of Kawhi Leonard's hands in crunch time.

Luka Doncic was brilliant on the other side with a triple-double of 31 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds, and Tim Hardaway Jr. and Dorian Finney-Smith combined for nine three-pointers to provide critical support for the star.

Tuesday's Game 2 is close to a must-win for Los Angeles as it looks to avoid falling into a 2-0 hole before heading on the road for Games 3 and 4.

To hear George tell it, though, his team is under the same pressure as everyone else.