The Clippers are in a fascinating position right now. At the beginning of the year, they were one of the odds-on favorites to win the NBA Title. Fast forward to seven games into the season and the Clippers are standing at 3-4, 11th in the Western Conference. To say this season has started out rough is an understatement. Kawhi is already dealing with knee soreness and has only played 20 minutes in two of the games so far. He isn’t joining the Clips for their upcoming road trip, confirming that he will miss another two games. Since then, it has been extremely rough and let’s get right into that.
Right off the bat, the Clippers offense absolutely stinks. The Clips rank dead last in points per game at 99.9. 2nd to last is none other than Lakers at 105.3. That’s how bad they’ve been. They are also rank 29th in 3-pointers made at 9.4 a game. The ball just has not gone in the basket to start this year and it has been rough to watch. After starting 2-0, the Clips dropped 4 consecutive games, including losing to the Thunder twice in a row. Even if your star player is out, this just isn’t going to cut it if you are trying to become a championship caliber team.
The Clippers faced off against the Rockets on Monday night and Paul George served up an absolute two-way masterclass. He finished the game with 35 points, 9 rebounds, 8 assists, and 6 steals. It was incredible. With 35 seconds left, PG hit a game-tying triple, followed that with a clutch steal, and then hit a ridiculous difficult baseline fadeaway jumper over Eric Gordon to secure the win and break the four-game win streak. Two days later, the Clippers played the Rockets again and PG finished with 28 leading them to a second consecutive victory. Led by impressive performances from Paul George, the Clippers are finally finding their flow.
With that being said, there is an extremely important statistic that needs to be acknowledged. As we know and have seen time and time again, PG is incredibly gifted and can put your squad in a position to win at all times… but it almost feels like sometimes he doesn’t really want to. There are far too many games when PG simply shies away and fails to attack the basket. He almost fades into the crowd and loses his aggression. The magic number is 20. In games when Paul George has shot more than 20 shots, the Clippers are 3-0 and George has finished with 28, 40, and 35 points. Now, on the contrary when PG shoots less than 20 shots, the Clippers are 1-3, with George finishing with 15, 16, 10, and 14 points. It’s really that simple. When Paul George shoots the rock and plays aggressively good things happen. When he shies away and decides to fade into the game, it doesn’t end so well. Clipper Ambassador Jamal Christopher jokingly mentioned that the Clips should fine PG if he doesn’t shoot more than 20 shots a game and I couldn’t agree more. Not that we need to fine him, but theoretically speaking, PG needs to see what it takes to put the team in a position to win, and we can clearly see that shooting less than 20 shots is not going to cut it. PG, if you’re seeing this, let ’em fly!