It was in late December when Paul George, the Clippers’ star player, analyzed the reasons for their failure to maintain a 20-point lead in a game against the Philadelphia 76ers in an empty locker room. The team had played an impressive first half of the season, but their performance had deteriorated in the second half, with poor shot selection, defensive shortcomings, and a failure to close out the game.
Fast forward one month later, and George and the Clippers faced the Lakers in a game where they had an impressive first half, with 77 points, 15 three-pointers, and a 23-point lead. However, as the fourth quarter began, the lead had been reduced to 10 points, and the Lakers’ star player, LeBron James, was on a scoring streak.
The Clippers regrouped during a timeout and decided to continue pushing the pace and getting defensive stops. This strategy worked, and they successfully stopped the Lakers’ comeback, winning 133-115. This marked their 10th consecutive victory against the Lakers under coach Tyronn Lue, and moved them closer to realizing their full potential.
George stated that this was a step in the right direction for the team, and that they are building something good, but they need to stay healthy to continue their progress. The team also noted that they had turned their weaknesses into strengths, specifically in their defense and shot selection. Additionally, a key player in this victory was Reggie Jackson, who had recently been out of the rotation but delivered a crucial shot during the game.
Finally, during a crucial moment in the game, George intercepted a pass by Dennis Schroder, leading to a layup and foul by Leonard, increasing the lead to 13 points and securing the win for the Clippers.