Did Paul George Shade James Harden?
Paul George has struggled badly offensively throughout the first three games of the Los Angeles Clippers’ first round series against the Dallas Mavericks.
On Friday night, following a 3-for-16 showing that saw him go 1-of-8 from behind the arc, George made a comment that some perceived to be a shot at Houston Rockets star James Harden.
“I’m no James Harden,” he said.
“That’s not my knack … to just shoot the ball, score the ball. I can and I pride myself on being effective on both ends. But there’s going to be nights like this where I just can’t make a shot, and I can’t allow that to affect my game.”
Essentially, George tried to make the case that his impact on the basketball court extends beyond just the offensive side of the ball.
“Shot-making … scoring the ball is not what I [only] do,” he continued.
“I try to do everything, I try to play the game the right way and just get lost in the game and try to pass the ball and make plays defensively, rebound. Just a little bit of everything. I am going through a tough time, but good thing about it, we are up 2-1 in this series and I haven’t shot the ball well.”
“I’m no James Harden…That’s not my knack, to shoot the ball to score the ball…And I pride myself to be effective on both ends.”
Paul George, when asked about his recent struggles and ability to do other things than score. pic.twitter.com/vC1eHDBOvG
— Hoop Central (@TheHoopCentral) August 22, 2020
George’s comments sparked a debate among NBA fans regarding whether what he said should be perceived as a jab at Harden or not.
On one hand, it was a clumsy comment where the 30-year-old may have simply been praising Harden’s offensive skill set.
On the other, it sure did sound like he was suggesting that Harden is mostly just focused on offensive production and scoring, whereas George is a more well-rounded player.
Paul George Has Been Struggling
While it is debatable whether or not George was trying to shade Harden, what is clear is that he is struggling right now.
Offensively, he has been dropping the ball for the Clippers.
Over the past two outings, George has shot 7-for-33. He is also 3-of-18 from three.
TNT broadcaster Charles Barkley surmised many people’s thoughts on how George has looked thus far when he took aim at the Clippers star’s “Playoff P” self-created nickname.
“You can’t be calling yourself ‘Playoff P’ and lose all the time,” Barkley said.
“You don’t see me walking around saying ‘I won the championship’ because I didn’t win it. They don’t call me Championship Chuck.”
“They don’t call me Championship Chuck.” 😂 pic.twitter.com/Zt3WjtsKBh
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) August 22, 2020
Paul George Still Has The Support Of His Teammates
Despite his slump, George still has the support of his teammates.
Kawhi Leonard, who has been tasked with carrying the offensive load during George’s slump, had nothing but positive things to say after the Clippers’ Game 3 victory over the Mavericks on Friday night.
“I mean, he’s good,” Leonard said.
“We all start from scratch again Game 4. You shoot 100% from 3 in two games, three games, doesn’t mean you’re going to shoot well going forward. It’s all from scratch again. This is playoff basketball.
“He’s a confident player, he’s going to turn it around. We got his back.”
The Clippers and Mavericks are set to play Game 4 of their best-of-seven series on Sunday afternoon. It will be interesting to see if George can start getting back into his rhythm, or if this is a problem that will continue to persist throughout the postseason.