Los Angeles Clippers forward Paul George admitted his team didn't make any adjustments after going up 3-1 in the Western Conference Semifinals against the Denver Nuggets before falling in seven games.
During an appearance on All The Smoke with Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson on Wednesday, George said a lack of preparation cost the Clippers a chance to advance.
"During that whole process we never worked on adjustments. We never worked on what to do differently. We're just literally having the same s--t happen over and over again. It started to play a trick on you like 'Man, what's going on?' We're talking amongst each other, the conversation is like, 'Nah, we're going to be all right,' the conversation should've been like, 'Nah, we need to change.'"
According to George, even after the series became 3-2, the Clippers felt confident they were going to win and brushed off the loss as a minor setback. By the time the balance of the series had clearly shifted, L.A. wasn't in the mindset to make any adjustments.
"At the end of the day, I don't think we deserved it," George said. "We wasn't prepared enough going into it. ... We didn't put the work into it."
The guard also revealed a lack of practice throughout the year led to issues with chemistry on the floor. Head coach Doc Rivers ultimately took the fall for the debacle, with the team firing him at the end of September. Former Cleveland Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue was brought in for the 2020-21 campaign.
Yet according to Jovan Buha of The Athletic, the "lack of buy-in" began with the tone set by George and Kawhi Leonard.
Preferential treatment for the high-profile duo reportedly included giving them control of the team's practice and travel schedule and playing time and personal security guards and trainers.
"How do you ever build a strong team with that s--t going on?" a team source told The Athletic. "I thought from the beginning: We're doomed. Kawhi wants too much special treatment."
Lue will have to balance the happiness of his two marquee players with an urgency to win. A meltdown against Denver in the postseason may have been the end result of a reportedly dysfunctional campaign, but the problems appeared to have run deeper than one series.