Paul George on Shooting Slump: 'Scoring the Ball Is Not What I Do'

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistAugust 22, 2020

Los Angeles Clippers' Paul George drives against the Dallas Mavericks during the first quarter of Game 3 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series, Friday, Aug. 21, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (Mike Ehrmann/Pool Photo via AP)
Mike Ehrmann/Associated Press

Los Angeles Clippers forward Paul George downplayed his recent shooting slump after his team's 130-122 victory over the Dallas Mavericks in Game 3 of their first-round playoff series Friday.

George made just seven of his 33 shots (21.2 percent) over the past two games, but he's added 19 rebounds, nine assists, two steals and a block over that span. He told reporters his all-around production is more of a focus than his pure scoring numbers:

"I'm no James Harden. That's not my knack...to just shoot the ball, score the ball. I can and I pride myself on being effective on both ends. But there's going to be nights like this where I just can't make a shot, and I can't allow that to affect my game.

"Shot-making...scoring the ball is not what I do. I try to do everything, I try to play the game the right way and just get lost in the game and try to pass the ball and make plays defensively, rebound. Just a little bit of everything. I am going through a tough time, but good thing about it, we are up 2-1 in this series and I haven't shot the ball well."

Kawhi Leonard has picked up the slack for L.A., scoring 71 points on 23 of 45 shooting (51.1 percent) while playing 80 minutes over the past two contests.

George, who averaged 21.5 points on 43.9 percent shooting during the regular season, knocked down 10 of his 22 attempts in Game 1 as part of a 118-110 Clippers win.

He will need to get back on track offensively for Los Angeles to stand a chance of navigating the loaded Western Conference playoffs en route to an appearance in the Finals.

"I think people get so caught up what other people [think]," George said Friday. "I'm Paul George. I don't care to be anybody else. I am who I am. You [can] love it or you don't. Simple as that."

Clippers head coach Doc Rivers also didn't sound concerned about the star's recent struggles.

"I'm not worried about it," Rivers said. "He's a great player. He's human. I can guarantee you this: He has not forgotten how to shoot. It will fall for him."

Leonard added: "He's a confident player. He's going to turn it around. We got his back."

The situation hasn't affected the oddsmakers' view of the Clips. They are listed as the favorite (+275) to win the NBA championship, narrowly ahead of the rival Los Angeles Lakers (+325) and Milwaukee Bucks (+375), per Caesars Palace.

George will look to break out of his slump Sunday when the Clippers attempt to take a commanding 3-1 series lead over the Mavs. Tip off is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. ET on ABC.