NBA

Paul George lauds Kawhi Leonard after duo's maiden Clippers outing

By Sports Desk November 21, 2019

Paul George was thrilled to take to the court alongside Kawhi Leonard for the first time as the Los Angeles Clippers beat the Boston Celtics 107-104 in overtime.

After injuries to both players postponed their maiden outing together, the wait was ended in Wednesday's clash with the Celtics in LA.

George put up 25 points and eight assists, while Leonard finished with a 17-point haul that included a dazzling dunk over the towering Daniel Theis.

And George was full of praise for his fellow Spurs star.

"I mean, that's the Finals MVP, man," George said of Leonard. "He knows when it's time to take over.

"He's been there and he's won championships with multiple ball clubs, so he knows how to stomp and put that foot on opponents' neck and that's what you saw him do tonight.

"It was fun to see what this team can look like on the defensive end, and offensively it was fun to see how we can play off each other.

"The fact of the matter is we are going to have growing pains and I think the most positive thing is we understood that.

"Nobody was pointing fingers or dropping their heads in huddles ... at no point was this team ever dysfunctional."

For his part, Leonard recognises there is room for improvement as the duo bed in alongside each other, with game time the key.

"It's pretty much just finding each other's spots and knowing the plays," Leonard said.

"It's still tough. We are both kind of on a minute restriction, hard to get into a flow. But just knowing plays and each other's spots and the language on the defensive end [will help].

"Repetition is what we need right now."

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    Paul George had no problem with being booed by Indiana Pacers fans as he led the Los Angeles Clippers to victory on Monday, but suggested they should direct their vitriol closer to home.

    George spent seven years with the Pacers before leaving for Oklahoma City Thunder in 2017.

    The 29-year-old switched Oklahoma for LA in the offseason, joining the Clippers along with Kawhi Leonard, who led the Toronto Raptors to the championship last season.

    Six-time All-Star George was the star of the show for the Clippers on Monday, scoring 36 points and nine rebounds in a 110-99 triumph in Indianapolis.

    He was also the recipient of boos and jeers throughout, yet he claimed the Pacers' fans are targeting the wrong person.

    "I'm not surprised," George told reporters. "That's Indiana for you. It's a Hoosier thing.

    "You know, someday I'll do a tell-all and tell the leading events of how I left Indiana and I promise you, I'm not the one to boo.

    "I'm not gonna share the teaser, I like being the villain. I'm here two nights out of the year. The people that boo are here a lot longer than I am."

    Asked to elaborate further, George stated he had nothing negative to say about Kevin Pritchard, who had said George's trade request in 2017 "was like a punch to the gut".

    "You're getting close to trying to get this story out, aren't you?" George said. "I'm not going to bad-mouth KP. That's just Kevin's side of the story."

    Clippers coach Doc Rivers, meanwhile, acknowledged he had been surprised at the level of hostility George received.

    "Yeah, I was shocked," Rivers told reporters. "I really was. I was ill-equipped. It was offensive to me.

    "But I was unprepared for that, I didn't know it was bad feelings and it was lingering. Obviously it was."

    The Clippers are next in action on Wednesday, when it will be Leonard's turn to make a return to his former team the Raptors, and George is anticipating a markedly different reception.

    "The opposite of what it was like [Monday]," he said.

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    Antetokounmpo posted a double-double to lead the Bucks past the Orlando Magic 110-101 and their 15th consecutive NBA victory on Monday.

    Reigning MVP Antetokounmpo scored 32 points and 15 rebounds in Milwaukee, where Khris Middleton added 20 points as the Bucks improved to 21-3.

    Evan Fournier led the Magic (11-12) – who entered the game on a four-game winning streak – with 26 points.

    Paul George starred as the Leonard-less Clippers defeated the Indiana Pacers 110-99 on the road.

    With Leonard sitting out, George had 36 points amid a chorus of boos against former team the Pacers – who traded the six-time All-Star to the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2017 ahead of free agency.

    George finished with a season-high seven three-pointers as the Clippers (18-7) won for the fourth time in five games.

    Meanwhile, Malcolm Brogdon scored 20 points for the Pacers (15-9) in Indiana.

     

    Westbrook stars

    The Houston Rockets suffered a buzzer-beating 119-118 loss to the Sacramento Kings, but Russell Westbrook put up 34 points and eight assists.

    Brandon Ingram recorded 31 points in the New Orleans Pelicans' heartbreaking 105-103 defeat against the Detroit Pistons.

     

    Cavs continue to slide

    The Cleveland Cavaliers (5-18) are sinking without a trace. Monday's 110-88 loss to the Boston Celtics was their seventh successive defeat and 13th in 14 games.

     

    Clutch Rose, Buzzer-beating Bjelica

    Derrick Rose nailed a fadeaway jump shot as time expired to lift the Pistons to a win at the Pelicans.

    There was also late drama in Houston, where Nemanja Bjelica made a long-range three-pointer on the buzzer as the Kings stunned the Rockets.

     

    Monday's results

    Los Angeles Clippers 110-99 Indiana Pacers
    Boston Celtics 110-88 Cleveland Cavaliers
    Sacramento Kings 119-118 Houston Rockets
    Milwaukee Bucks 110-101 Orlando Magic
    Detroit Pistons 105-103 New Orleans Pelicans
    Toronto Raptors 93-92 Chicago Bulls
    Phoenix Suns 125-109 Minnesota Timberwolves
    Oklahoma City Thunder 104-90 Utah Jazz
    Memphis Grizzlies 110-102 Golden State Warriors

     

    Nuggets at 76ers

    The Philadelphia 76ers face another big test at home. Boasting a 12-0 record at home, the 76ers (17-7) welcome the Denver Nuggets to Wells Fargo Center on Tuesday after seeing off the Raptors last time out. The Nuggets (14-7) have lost back-to-back games.

  • Nothing's changed – Cavs star Kevin Love on trade talk Nothing's changed – Cavs star Kevin Love on trade talk

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    However, the 31-year-old's future in Cleveland is uncertain as the Cavaliers (5-17) struggle this season.

    The Cavaliers are reportedly willing to listen to offers for veteran Love, who is not bothered by the trade talk.

    "Nothing's changed," Love told ESPN. "What I mean by that is, since I got here they've been ... since I f****** got here, there's been talk of me being traded, so it's nothing different.

    "If they decide to go that way, I've just got to know it's part of the business, or if we decide to go that way, it's part of the business.

    "Truthfully, I don't know how it's going to play out, because I see both sides."

    On being the oldest player on the Cavs' roster, Love added: "I imagine, in a rebuild, it's easy to look at it, especially when it's down and out at this point, and say, 'Hey, we want to completely reset the deck and go young. I understand that.

    "But despite that, whether it's five months or five years, I'm always going to be able to come back to Cleveland no matter what, and I'll always love the fans, and be part of this organisation, one way or another."

    In 2019-20, Love is averaging 16.1 points, 10.5 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game for the struggling Cavaliers.

     

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