Los Angeles Clippers forward Paul George looked nothing like a six-time All-Star during Wednesday's 127-114 loss to the Dallas Mavericks in Game 2 of their first-round playoff series, and he blamed the "cheap" fouls he picked up early in the game.
Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN relayed his comment, noting George expressed frustration with the foul trouble that didn't allow him to establish a rhythm.
He finished with a double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds, but he was an ugly 4-of-17 from the field and 2-of-10 from three-point range.
What made the performance all the more concerning from the Clippers' standpoint was how much they needed George to play like his typical self with Patrick Beverley sidelined. Instead, he struggled with his shot and was unable to provide enough help for Kawhi Leonard.
Leonard impressed with 35 points and 10 boards, while Lou Williams added 23 points, seven assists and four rebounds off the bench.
Still, it wasn't enough to counter a balanced Mavericks effort in which six players scored 13 or more points and Luka Doncic thrived with 28 points, eight rebounds and seven assists. Doncic, like George, dealt with foul trouble and spent most of the fourth quarter on the bench, but he was much better during his time on the floor.
Trey Burke and Seth Curry also played well in relief of Doncic, helping Dallas maintain its lead even with its star on the bench.
The Mavericks are far from the usual No. 7 seed that won't put up much of a fight with the one-two punch of Doncic and Porzingis and a group that was No. 1 in the league in offensive rating during the regular season, per NBA.com.
To advance and eventually live up to their championship expectations, the Clippers need their own one-two punch of All-Star-caliber players to lead the way.
Leonard was up to the task Wednesday, but George was not.