Soon after Chris Paul and the Phoenix Suns celebrated the Western Conference championship at Staples Center, Paul George wondered what would happen “if” Kawhi Leonard was healthy. The Los Angeles Clippers ran out of fuel at the end of a difficult playoff streak and returned, losing to the Suns in Game 6, 130-103 of the Western Conference Finals on Wednesday.
After the game, George allowed himself to think about the possibility that what if Leonard had not dislocated his right knee in the fourth game of the preliminaries against the Utah Jazz. The Clippers were the only team to fall behind by 2-0 games twice in the same playoffs and lost in Game 7 against the Suns. They were overtaken by injuries and tired legs. In addition, Leonard missed his last eight games due to a knee injury. The Clippers’ Ivica Zubac (right MCL sprain) and Serge Ibaka (back surgery) also missed the last few games.
They played the 15th game in 29 days because their three rounds were six or more games. However, Clippers head coach Tyronn Leu said that when the locker room discovered that the season before the NBA Finals ended with only two victories, his players were stunned.
The Clippers also had defensive errors, and Paul made his old team pay for every game. In the second half, he showed what classic CP3 skills are with all the things that make opponents headaches. 12 of 16 shots, including his 5 three-pointers, averaged 31 of 41 points per game in the second half.
After Paul hit a three-pointer at 5:49 remaining and forced the Suns from to 118-92 until the end of the game, the Clippers requested a timeout. When Paul returned to the bench, a frustrated Patrick Beverly pushed the point guard behind and was kicked out. George performed well in this playoffs, especially after Leonard fell. The Suns sent in George several points, and he ended the game on Wednesday with 21 points and 9 rebounds.
Even so, George responded to the harshest criticism with his best playoffs, bringing the Clippers to their first Western Conference Finals. Point guard Reggie Jackson also has a future. He has become the Clippers’ top shooter in the playoffs. The Clippers have Bird’s first right to Jackson. However, George said that his good friend may play himself because he has many choices for his future.