(News4usonline) – The Los Angeles Clippers know who their opponent will be in the first round of the NBA playoffs. Sitting at the No. 8 spot, the Clippers will be playing the top seed in the Western Conference.
That would be the mighty Phoenix Suns, the same team that defeated the Clippers in the Western Conference Finals to advance to the NBA Finals last season.
The scenario is almost the same for both teams. Kawhi Leonard is out for the Clippers. But Los Angeles does have Paul George to help them in their quest to try to upend a Phoenix team that has looked like the best team in the NBA all season long. Right now, the Clippers are just focusing on finishing the season strong.
After suffering through a rough five-game losing streak, the Clippers have won three of their last four games, showing some of that moxie from last season. In a surreal surprise, the Clippers busted up the Milwaukee Bucks, handing the NBA champs a 153-119 defeat for a stunning road win.
Playing the No. 9 team in the West in the New Orleans Pelicans, the Clippers kept up their winning ways with a 119-100 win at Crypto.com Arena. As the regular season winds down, the main thing for the Clippers going into the postseason is having George prepped and ready to go.
To do that, Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue is working on George’s workload.
“Just continue to increase his minutes,” Lue said. “Keep trying to get him into rhythm, put the ball in his hands so he can make plays. It’s going to be important that he does this for us down the stretch. Tonight, I thought he looked a little tired, it’s the first time I’ve seen it that he looked a little fatigued to me. Just continue to make plays I think he had seven assists in the first half. Just moving the basketball making the right read. Just try to build his minutes up slowly.”
George wound up playing 29 minutes and scoring just 15 points against the Pelicans. The Clippers had seven players score in double-digits. And even though the Pelicans had more points in the paint (46-40), more second chance points (25-19), and fastbreak points (8-6), the Clippers got the edge in shooting the three-ball.
The Clippers made 21 of their 44 three-point attempts, while the Pelicans converted only 9 of their 24 treys from downtown. The Clippers took control of the game in the second quarter when New Orleans made only 5 of 20 shots from the field, a whopping 25 percent.
The Clippers are a lock as the No. 8 seed. So the only they can do is get ready. For his part, George says he has to re-adjust his mindset from getting into shape to playing with another gear-mentality and physically.
“I think just the intensity, the mindset, and just the mentality I think going into games, start the games
off right,” George said. “Right now, the mentality is trying to get a rhythm. You know, of course, win these games, do what I have to do to win. But it’s more so getting rhythm getting timing. I really haven’t played
basketball in three months. It’s a lot that I still need to come to.”
Featured Image: Los Angeles Clippers guard Paul George (13) in action against the New Orleans Pelicans. Photo by Mark Hammond/News4usonline
Dennis is the editor and publisher of News4usonline. He covers the NFL, NBA, MLB, racial and social justice, civil rights, and HBCUs. Dennis earned a journalism degree from “The Mecca” aka Howard University. “I write on what I am passionate about.”