Paul George has his defining moment with Kawhi Leonard out

Paul George, Los Angeles Clippers, NBA Trade Rumors
NBA Analysis Network

Among a rush of NBA news on Wednesday morning came the report Kawhi Leonard will miss Wednesday night’s Game 5 against the Utah Jazz due to a knee injury. ESPN’s Brian Windhorst and Ramona Shelburne added that Leonard’s status for the rest of the series is in doubt. So they Los Angeles Clippers are down to one healthy star, which has become an overriding theme in these NBA playoffs.

Paul George, with his past playoff inconsistencies and the associated nicknames (“Playoff P”, “Pandemic P”), is an easy target for criticism. Often, criticism shouldn’t be (and shouldn’t have been) strictly thrown onto him. But that is the burden a star has to carry when his team falls short in the playoffs.

Paul George has his defining moment in front of him

George had a rough start from beyond the arc in the first round against Dallas. But he averaged 23.6 points, nine rebounds and 5.7 assists per game in that series. In the first four games against Utah he is averaging 27.3 points, eight rebounds and 4.3 assists per game, while shooting 44.1 percent from 3-point range. George posted 31 points in Game 3 and Game 4, both Clippers’ wins, while averaging six rebounds and 4.5 assists per game. He also made half of his three pointers in the two games. So he’s quietly setting aside the narrative he can’t deliver consistently in the playoffs.

Game 5 is pivotal for the Clippers and the Jazz. The winner is likely to all but seal a trip to the Western Conference Finals against the Phoenix Suns.

With Leonard out, the spotlight be will be on George more than any player on the floor Wednesday night. The social media masses will be ready to pounce with every missed shot, bad decision, etc. So this is George’s moment to show, as some might say, that he can be Batman and not merely Robin to Leonard’s Batman. The Clippers’ playoff survival hinges on “Playoff P” seizing his career-defining moment.

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