Los Angeles Clippers star guard Paul George didn't want his team to end up on the losing side in Game 5 versus the Utah Jazz and he stepped up big time to lead his team to a win. Kawhi Leonard, the 2019 NBA Finals MVP, was out for the Clippers due to a knee injury and George stepped up big time to help the Clippers win 119-111 and take a 3-2 lead.
George scored 37 points, 16 rebounds and five assists in Game 5. "It was no secret," George said of what he had to do without Leonard. "I knew I had to be big tonight and got to be big going forward."
George admitted that having no Leonard was a big blow for the team but he was ready. "Oh, man, it was a blow," George said of his reaction when he found out. "It was a tough blow. But you know, at the end of the day, we don't want nothing but the best for Kawhi.
It's a positive; he can get some rest. Hopefully we can hold it down. But it's a positive. You know, he's got a new baby boy here. A lot of positives, a lot of love for him and his family."
George stayed calm
"He's incredible," said point guard Reggie Jackson, who hit numerous big shots when the Clippers needed them and finished with 22 points.
"Paul is special. ... You're going to have the naysayers and critics, but that's what you love about this game. You just have to try to put it behind you." "It didn't seem like it hurt too much. He was ready to put the team on his back to carry extra weight, and he showed up and proved why he's one of the best players in this league and why he's been incredible for us when we had him for the entire season.
... He just kept playing with conviction." Clippers head coach Ty Lue showed his respect for George after the game. "Have a lot of respect for PG," Lue said of George, who played 40 minutes. "Like you can't judge a guy's career off what they do off one series.
Like I know a lot of great players that have bad series or a bad game or a bad two games in a series, but whenever he has a bad game, they want to make a big deal of it. It's whatever. You know, just keep playing. Keep being who you are, and at the end of the day, you know, you can live with the results."