Los Angeles Clippers star guard Paul George showed his respect for the Phoenix Suns as he said they are a different caliber team that the Dallas Mavericks and Utah Jazz. The Clippers beat the Mavericks in the first round and the Jazz in the Western Conference Semfinals to set up a Suns series.
On Sunday, the Clippers and the Suns played Game 1 of their Western Conference Finals series. The hosts Suns, who were playing withour their starting point guard Chris Paul, beat the Clippers 120-114 to take a 1-0 lead.
"This is a different caliber team than the other two teams we faced," George said of the Suns compared to the Mavericks and Jazz. "A little bit more guard play. And so we just have to figure out how to counter, which we will.
We'll figure out another game plan. "As much as we wanted this one, I think this was a good feel-out game to see adjustments. We've been great adjusting, and you know, we've been great at playing better as the series goes on."
George had a big performance but it wasn't enough
George scored 34 points, had four rebounds and five assists but it wasn't enough to lead the Clippers to a win. Suns guard Devin Booker put a big-time performance as he scored a game-high 40 points, had 13 rebounds and 11 assists.
"[Booker] played with the ball but he does a great job playing off the ball whether it be off ball screens, getting himself open, really, really good in the midrange," Clippers point guard Reggie Jackson said of the new challenge of defending Booker.
"The other two [Doncic and Mitchell], really [they are more] 3-ball and [getting] to the rim guys. They are all three-level scorers. "[But with Booker], it's hard when you put so much pressure coming downhill and then he pulls up.
He's the complete package. We have to find a way to bottle him up." George not panicking after losing Game 1. "I expect us to get better as the series goes," George said. "We've been great at it. It's nothing to kind of panic over right now.
You know, we were down Kawhi. We're playing with a banged-up Marcus. Yeah, they don't have Chris Paul either, but it's a game of adjustments. We'll figure out what we need to do better." Clippers center DeMarcus insisted they would adjust going forward. "We'll adjust," Cousins said. "I promise."