NBA: Paul George overcomes struggles as Clippers win; Nuggets stay alive

Published August 26, 2020, 5:35 PM

by Agence-France-Presse

Paul George
Paul George #13 of the Los Angeles Clippers drives to the basket against Boban Marjanovic #51 of the Dallas Mavericks in the second half in game five of the first round of the 2020 NBA Playoffs at ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex on August 25, 2020 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. (Ashley Landis / Pool / Getty Images / AFP)

Paul George says his struggles are over as he scored a team-high 35 points on Tuesday to lead the Los Angeles Clippers to a dominating 154-111 playoff victory over the Dallas Mavericks.

George rebounded from three sub-par performances to combine offensively with Kawhi Leonard and give the Clippers a 3-2 series lead. 

George opened up after the game about his struggles with coping inside the NBA’s quarantine bubble in Orlando, Florida where the players have to adhere to strict health and safety measures and no spectators are allowed into the arena.

George says after being in a “dark place” he has finally got rid of the demons and is ready to help the Clippers with their playoff run.

“The bubble got the best of me. I was in a dark place,” said George, who spoke with a team therapist before game five. “I wasn’t here, I checked out.

“I was just in a bad place. I found my way. I am back and I look forward to the rest of this run. A shout out to people that stood behind me and were in my corner.”

George said he is now using mental tricks to raise his level of play.

“It was hard to get into playoff mode with no intensity, no fans, and no atmosphere,” he said. 

“We created the energy. I came in with the attitude that this is Staples arena and the place is packed. I had to create my own energy.”

Game six is Thursday.

The Clippers shot a spectacular 63.1 percent from the floor and 62.9 percent (22-of-35) from beyond the arc.

Kawhi Leonard
Kawhi Leonard #2 of the LA Clippers handles the ball during the game against the Dallas Mavericks during Round One Game Five of the NBA Playoffs on August 25, 2020 at The AdventHealth Arena at ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex in Orlando, Florida. (Joe Murphy / NBAE via Getty Images / AFP)

Leonard finished with 32 points and Montrezl Harrell added 19 points and 11 rebounds off the bench for Los Angeles.

Mavericks top scorer Luka Doncic finished with just 22 points after scoring 43 and nailing the game winner in overtime in game four.

Tim Hardaway scored 19 points and Trey Burke had 15 for the Mavericks, who were without star forward Kristaps Porzingis.

Also, Jamal Murray scored 42 points and Nikola Jokic had 31 as the Denver Nuggets avoided elimination with a 117-107 victory over the Utah Jazz in game five of their playoff series.

Jamal Murray
Jamal Murray #27 of the Denver Nuggets dribbles the ball up court during Round One, Game Five of the NBA Playoffs on August 25, 2020 at The Field House in Orlando, Florida. (David Dow / NBAE via Getty Images / AFP)

Denver looked tired in game three, but they bounced back nicely in games four and five and now trail three games to two in the best-of-seven Western Conference series.

Canada’s Murray scored 33 of his points in the second half, taking over the game with four minutes to go and the score even at 101-101.

Michael Porter had 15 points and Jerami Grant added 13 for the Nuggets, who swept the regular season series over the Jazz.

Nikola Jokic
Nikola Jokic #15 of the Denver Nuggets drives to the basket against the Utah Jazz during Round One, Game Five of the NBA Playoffs on August 25, 2020 at The Field House in Orlando, Florida. (Garrett Ellwood / NBAE via Getty Images / AFP)

The Nuggets also figured out how to slow down Donovan Mitchell, who finished with 30 points on Tuesday.

The third-year guard scored a career-high 57 points in the overtime loss in game one and was averaging 39.5 points heading into game five.

Mike Conley and Jordan Clarkson had 17 points each, and Rudy Gobert had 11 points and 12 rebounds for Utah. Joe Ingles added 13 points, and Royce O’Neale scored 10.

Jordan Clarkson
Jordan Clarkson #00 of the Utah Jazz drives to the basket against the Denver Nuggets during Round One, Game Five of the NBA Playoffs on August 25, 2020 at The Field House in Orlando, Florida. (Garrett Ellwood / NBAE via Getty Images / AFP)

With 80 seconds to go in the fourth, Murray drained a step back jumper to put the Nuggets ahead 110-101.

Mitchell knocked down a three-pointer with 18 seconds left, but Grant helped seal the victory by hitting four free throws in the final 14 seconds.