After the Los Angeles Clippers returned from Phoenix to Los Angeles, head coach Ty Lue called Paul George to acknowledge him the importance he has on the team. In Game 2, George missed two costly free throws and the Phoenix Suns ended up taking a 2-0 lead in their Western Conference Finals series.
In Game 3, the Clippers won 106-92 to reduce the deficit to 2-1. "I just told him, 'We wouldn't be in this position without you. That game's over,'" Lue said of his conversation with George. "It happens.
Doesn't mean anything." The Suns won Game 2 after a buzzer-beater alley-oop by DeAndre Ayton. "We were on the plane, we talked about it," George said of the Clippers players all putting Game 2 behind them.
"We hashed it out. And immediately we got ready for Game 3. Simple as that. We had to move on. I thought we did a great job of moving on."
George quickly 'moved on'
"I moved on," George said of his missed free throws with 8.2 seconds left with the Clippers up one before the Suns escaped with a 104-103 Game 2 win.
"I know I have to be better. So everything was just put in going into Game 3. All my energy was directed towards a better game in Game 3." After the game, Clippers guard Reggie Jackson gave credit to Patrick Beverley for bringing the energy.
Beverley scored eight points and had six rebounds in Game.3. "Pat Bev was energized," Jackson said. "Fired up about us not letting go, not letting our foot off the gas and figuring out how to be better."
George didn't have a great shooting night but he still finished with a game-high 27 points. "Didn't make many tonight," George said of his 9-for-26 shooting. "But that was one that we needed, and I thought it gave us great momentum."
Lue was happy that his player responded in Game 3. "Whatever it takes, doesn't matter to me," Lue said of his late-night calls to his players after landing from Phoenix on Wednesday. "But those guys came out and responded."
George now hopes the Clippers can also win Game 4. "We have to match their physicality -- I thought we did that," George said of the Clippers' effort. "We have to match their scrappiness -- I thought we did that.
That's really the key. We can't allow this team to play harder than us, and I thought that was just the way we approached tonight."