The Phoenix Suns eliminated the Los Angeles Clippers in the first round of the playoffs, inching themselves closer to delivering the franchise its first-ever NBA title. But it is hard to ignore how fortunate the Suns were in their first-round series. Clippers star Paul George, who suffered a knee injury in March, was not cleared to play in the series. But despite being without George, Clippers star Kawhi Leonard was able to will the team to the playoffs and notched a victory on the road in Game 1 in Phoenix.
But in Game 2, Leonard also suffered a knee injury, which turned out to be a torn meniscus. On the latest episode of his podcast “Podcast P” Presented by Wave Sports and Entertainment, George claimed that if the Clippers were healthy, they would have won the series.
“This was very much a series I think we should have won and could have gotten past if we [were] healthy. Absolutely I believe we had everything to beat Phoenix. It’s frustrating especially as years go up, you look back at this and like damn another year – not necessarily wasted – but another year of not getting a chance to compete. To get to the finish line and not be able to compete is the hardest part of it all,” George said.
Paul George Sends Message to Injury Critics
After seeing stars such as James Harden, John Wall, and Dwyane Wade gut through injuries to be available for their respective teams in the postseason, questions began to circulate about George’s commitment to the Clippers and their playoff hopes. But the Clippers’ star cleared up any confusion about whether or not he was healthy enough to play, giving a detailed analysis of what he was going through.
“The biggest concern, when the injury first happened, was [that] my leg felt like it was going to buckle and go the other way every time I took a step,” George added.
“So, when you got that on your mind and you’re coming back, you’re thinking about that like damn, if I take this step, I know I’m not ready yet. I was going through the workouts and like ‘yeah I look good doing shit but I’m not doing it the same level these guys are doing it right now.’”
Paul George Sounds off on Clippers Fans
The Los Angeles Clippers thought they had a championship-contending roster when they mortgaged their future to land Kawhi Leonard and Paul George in 2019. Thus far, they have yet to make it to the NBA Finals, but injuries have played a major part in them coming up short.
When the Clippers looked like a legitimate threat to win the Western Conference in 2021, Kawhi Leonard tore his ACL in the second round, which ultimately led to George and the Clippers getting eliminated in the Western Conference Finals. This time, it’s George and Leonard who were on the injury list.
Though losses and injuries are a part of sports, George says he can understand the frustration of Clippers’ fans. However, he did make clear that he and Kawhi are doing everything they can to bring the Clippers franchise its first-ever NBA title.
“Putting myself into a fan’s shoes, I get it. It is frustrating because to them, year after year they’re going through the same lulls of, we got a great team, we got a chance to win, and then boom there’s something that happens, whether I get injured, Kawhi get injured. Or years before I got here. Not having a star player or not being able to get over the hump. So, I get it,” George Added.
“But I will say, myself, Kawhi we’re doing everything we can. I train every summer to try and win a championship. I don’t take my summers for granted, and neither does Kawhi like we’re gonna get this s*** right at some point…We came over here for a reason and that was to win a championship for LA, for [Steve] Ballmer, for our legacy. So, to the Clipper nation and Clippers fans, we carry that burden and we’re gonna get that s*** right at some point.”