Clippers' Paul George 'Never Understood' Narrative of Not Being a Good Playoff Player

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVJuly 1, 2021

Los Angeles Clippers guard Paul George shoots during the second half in Game 6 of a second-round NBA basketball playoff series against the Utah Jazz Friday, June 18, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill

Los Angeles Clippers star Paul George addressed the notion that he isn't a strong playoff performer after the Clippers fell 130-103 to the Phoenix Suns in Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals on Wednesday.

George said the following after the Clippers were eliminated:

Tomer Azarly @TomerAzarly

"The narrative of me not being a postseason player... I never understood it. I'm the same person. I've dealt with stuff, as we all do. Makes me no different than the next man. I came up short again. I'm proud of what we did as a team. My good wasn't enough."<br><br>- Paul George <a href="https://t.co/eSAB0vu4DY">pic.twitter.com/eSAB0vu4DY</a>

It had been since 2014 when he was with the Indiana Pacers that George last played in the conference finals, and with Kawhi Leonard missing the final two games of the second round and all of the Western Conference Finals, it was PG-13 who became L.A.'s clear go-to guy for much of the postseason.

Appearing in all 19 of the Clippers' postseason games, George averaged 26.9 points, 9.6 rebounds and 5.4 assists while shooting 44.1 percent from the field and 33.6 percent from beyond the arc.

Leonard was leading the way before he got injured with 30.4 points, 7.7 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game in 11 playoff contests, but the two-time Finals MVP could not take part in any of L.A.'s final eight playoff games.

With the second-round series against the top-seeded Utah Jazz tied 2-2, George scored 37 points in Game 5 and 28 points in Game 6 to send the Clips to the Western Conference Finals for the first time in franchise history.

The Western Conference Finals didn't go according to plan for George and the Clippers, as they fell 4-2 to the Suns, but George continued to perform at a high level nonetheless.

In six games, he averaged 28.7 points, 10.5 rebounds and 5.5 assists, including a 41-point, 13-rebound, six-assist effort in a must-win Game 5.

Suns superstar point guard Chris Paul missed the first two games of the Western Conference Finals because of COVID-19 health and safety protocols, but he returned in Game 3, and Phoenix had its full allotment of stars the rest of the way.

Even with Paul, Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton standing in his way, George took over Game 5 and proved naysayers wrong regarding his playoff prowess. He ultimately wasn't able to elevate to Clippers to the NBA Finals as a lone star player, but it is difficult to blame him given how well he played.

Now, George owns career playoff averages of 21.3 points, 7.5 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 1.5 steals in 108 games. While not quite elite production, PG-13 doesn't deserve the label of a poor postseason performer.