For the better part of the year, Clippers guard Paul George been the butt of many fans’ jokes regarding his “Playoff P” nickname and his performance in last year’s postseason.
One game does not cement a reputation, but George took a big step in changing the narrative on Saturday night.
George and Kawhi Leonard combined for 65 points in a 132-106 win over the Jazz in Game 3, allowing the Clippers to avoid falling into a 3-0 series deficit. George scored playoff career-high 31 points on 12-for-24 shooting—including 6-for-10 on three-pointers—while Leonard scored 34 points with 12 boards, five assists, two steals and a block.
For the postseason, George is averaging 24.3 points and 8.6 rebounds per game on 47.6% shooting. During the playoffs last year, George shot 39.8% from the field and averaged just 20.2 points per game, failing to score 20 points in seven of the team’s 13 games. This year, he’s topped 20 points in each playoff game.
George scored 20 of his 31 in the first half, including 13 during the second quarter in which the Clippers outscored the Jazz 37-26. Utah began the game on an 8-0 run but would never hold a bigger lead for the rest of the way.
After scoring 82 combined points in the first two games of the series, Donovan Mitchell was held relatively in check on Saturday night. He scored 30 points on 11-for-24 shooting and faced consistent double teams, as the Clippers seemed intent on not allowing Mitchell to single-handedly dominate the game.
Reggie Jackson and Nic Batum each scored 17 points, combining to shoot 12-for-17 from the field. Game 4 is set for Monday night in Los Angeles.
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