Los Angeles Clippers star Paul George downplayed the team's Game 3 road win over the Dallas Mavericks on Friday, which trimmed the Mavs' series lead to 2-1.
George, who scored 29 points in the 118-108 victory, told reporters the Clippers still have a lot to prove if they're going to advance from the first-round playoff matchup:
"We're down 2-1. We haven't shown anything. We're not the favorites [to win it all]. We're not the defending champs. We haven't shown anything.
"We have to continue to keep doing it. We've got to win this series, but it's one game at a time. We've got to win Game 4 and send it back to L.A. Take home-court advantage. But off one win, we haven't shown anything."
Teammate Rajon Rondo agreed with George's sentiment:
"Obviously, backs against the wall. Champions respond. We can't crown ourselves too early, but understand to have that mindset that when things get wrong, we got to fight, and tonight we stuck to the fight, down 19. I think that's one of the biggest obstacles in the playoffs.
"We haven't done anything special, though. We won one game, and we'll watch the film tomorrow and see how we can come out better on Sunday and hopefully have the same type of outcome."
The Clippers were staring down a likely insurmountable 3-0 series deficit and found themselves in an early 30-11 hole Friday before fighting back to take a two-point halftime lead. After a back-and-forth third quarter, L.A. pulled away in the fourth to take its first game of the series.
Kawhi Leonard led the charge by making 13 of his 17 shots en route to 36 points. George added seven rebounds and four assists on top of his 29 points.
"Those guys are killers," Clippers forward Marcus Morris Sr. said of Leonard and George. "No matter what's being said in the media and what's being said in the outside world, them guys come in and work their ass off every single game."
It was an encouraging performance at both ends of the floor for the Clippers, who'd allowed 240 points over the first two games at home as the Mavericks took control of the series.
That said, the No. 4 seed in the Western Conference is still behind the eight ball, needing to win three of the next four games to advance.
Los Angeles can alleviate that pressure with a win in Game 4, which would level the series at two games apiece and restore the team's home-court advantage.
The series resumes Sunday at 9:30 p.m. ET on TNT.