“You can’t be calling yourself ‘Playoff P’ and lose all the time. 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.”
That was Charles Barkley on Inside the NBA roasting Paul George for his self-given nickname from years ago and how he is not coming close to living up to it early in these playoffs.
While the Clippers are up 2-1 on the Dallas Mavericks, that has a lot more to do with Kawhi Leonard looking like the Finals MVP version of himself — a proven playoff performer rising to the occasion — than it goes Goerge, who can’t find his shot.
Paul George is shooting 30.9% overall this series and 24.1% from three. In the last two games, he is 7-of-33 from the floor and 3-of-18 from beyond the arc.
“I’m not worried about it,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said after Game 3 Friday night. “He’s a great player. He’s human. I can guarantee you this, he has not forgotten how to shoot. It will fall for him.”
George said scoring is not the only way he impacts games, adding his defense and playmaking contribute to wins.
“I’m no James Harden… to just shoot the ball, score the ball,” George said after Game 3. “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…
“Scoring the ball is not what I [only] do. 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.”
That hasn’t stopped NBA Twitter from roasting George, suggesting his new nickname should be Pandemic P.
The downfall of PG13’s career happened as soon as he said this. pic.twitter.com/Vzkcy7lo1N
— . (@nonfazed) August 22, 2020
“Playoff P you say? Let’s see who this really is” pic.twitter.com/ahUGtbwKXH
— Mike D’Antoni slander account (@Cam_Unstoppable) August 20, 2020
PLAYOFF P HIGHLIGHTS pic.twitter.com/Mdjx9TC8ha
— Bxbychxppa (@bxbychxppa) August 22, 2020
George’s playoff struggles are not just this season. Two years ago in Oklahoma City he shot just 40% when the Jazz bounced the Thunder in the first round, then last season Damian Lillard drained his iconic series-ending shot right over George.
The Clippers don’t expect to be one-and-done in the playoffs this season, but if they are going to make the kind of run to a title they expect they are going to need a lot more from George.