Paul George Says Clippers Never Felt It Was 'Championship or Bust' This Season

Blake SchusterAnalyst IIISeptember 16, 2020

Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic (15) drives against Los Angeles Clippers guard Paul George (13) during the second half of an NBA conference semifinal playoff basketball game Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

Los Angeles Clippers star Paul George attempted to correct the record Tuesday after the Denver Nuggets eliminated his team from the postseason in the Western Conference Semifinals.

The Clippers wanted the NBA title pressure, George said, but L.A. never felt it was "championship or bust."

Los Angeles blew a 3-1 series lead to the Denver Nuggets culminating in a rather embarrassing 104-89 loss in Game 7.

George shot just 4-of-16 from the field for 10 points, while forward Kawhi Leonard struggled with 14 points on 22 shots.

The duo who teamed up to win a title with the Clippers fell way short in their first year. George said there wasn't as much chemistry up and down the roster as the club hoped for, and they struggled to stay in a rhythm this season because of it.

Just how the team goes about correcting that this offseason will tell a lot about the Clippers' path forward.

Head coach Doc Rivers has a few seasons left on his current contract and a number of key rotation players—including reigning Sixth Man of the Year Montrezl Harrell and Marcus Morris Sr.—are due for new contracts. With George and Leonard both free agents in 2022, L.A. doesn't have many options or a long window to make them.

Instead, change will need to come swiftly with little margin for error.

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Yet Leonard spent the season preaching the opposite.

"We just can't be in a rush," Leonard told Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN earlier this season. "That's what I'm [telling them]. Just be patient. It's hard to win a championship. The pressure isn't even on us now. Just enjoy the process and have fun."

That might have been the case back in January, but Tuesday night wasn't much fun for L.A. fans, and the pressure is most certainly on now.