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Sunday NBA grades: Paul George plays at his peak for a game

May 12, 2014, 2:38 AM EDT

Nene, David West AP

Our quick look around the NBA, or what you missed while getting a tattoo of that selfie you took

source:  Paul George, Indiana Pacers. He is the reason the Indiana Pacers came from 19 points down to win. Check out his second half stat line: 28 points on 7-of-10 shooting (6-of-8 from three), 8 rebounds, and 2 steals. He finished with 39 points for the game. Early in the season we were all talking about George being in that elite 10 (give or take) players in the NBA who can lead a team to a title. Not sure the Pacers are going that far, but George looked like that guy again.

source:  Darren Collison, Los Angeles Clippers. For three quarters the Clippers were mostly jump shooters — they were not getting easy buckets, they were not getting to the rim. Then in the fourth quarter Doc Rivers made a desperation move — go small, put Chris Paul on Kevin Durant and Collison on
Russell Westbrook, which frustrated the Thunder offense (see the next entry). When they got frustrated, they didn’t protect the rim as well and Collison took advantage — he had 12 fourth quarter points and hit 3-of-4 shots at the rim. Collison was part of the double teams on Durant that had some success. He simply out-played his former teammate Westbrook in the fourth and that is a key reason the Clippers came back and won.

source:  Oklahoma City’s fourth quarter. It wasn’t Chris Paul’s amazing defense on Kevin Durant that turned this game around (Durant was 4-of-5 for 10 points in the quarter), it was how Oklahoma City responded as a team to that desperation move by Doc Rivers that doomed them. Oklahoma City rightfully thought Durant should be able to post up CP3 and so they tried to isolate that — and the other motions of their offense ground to a halt. The Thunder went away from what worked to become singularly focused. The Thunder spent the fourth quarter trying to get deep into the shot clock and go with isolation plays, and that is what the Clippers were able to defend. The Clippers doubled, the Thunder missed on opportunities — then the Thunder let their frustrations cary over to the defense end. The Clippers scored lm That was the bigger problem, the Clippers got 14 shots in the restricted area in the fourth quarter alone, another two inside 8 feet. The Clippers are too athletic, too good to let them waltz into the lane. Those are correctable problems for the Thunder, ones more about mindset and poise than skill.

  1. antistratfordian - May 12, 2014 at 4:53 AM

    Chris Paul accounted for 45 points, plays all-world defense, and only committed 1 turnover. Give him an A+. Sometimes I wonder if he’s the real 2nd best player in the league. Durant still has some things to work on.

    • tomasekradek - May 12, 2014 at 6:03 AM

      But he is also able to score less then 10pts in a (playoff!!) game and sometimes tends to completely disappear. You wont’s see Lebron (at least last two seasons) or KD dissapearing. 3rd at best…

      • antistratfordian - May 12, 2014 at 6:37 AM

        Well, for one thing, KD disappeared in crunch time of 4 straight finals games in 2012. And he is actually known for disappearing quite often, except when it happens we don’t say, “Kevin Durant disappeared” – instead, we are very gentle on KD and we say, “Russell Westbrook’s ball-hogging made Kevin Durant disappear.” It just about happened again at the end of this game.

        But the last time CP3 only scored single digits in a playoff game he still accounted for 28 points. So even though he only scored 9 points through field goals, he still put points on the board through assists. And 28 points is more than what Durant accounted for when he only scored 15 versus Memphis a few games back.

        And while you may think that Chris Paul tends to completely disappear sometimes, Kevin Durant’s defense completely disappears all of the time. So we cannot talk about consistency without noting how very inconsistent Durant is playing the other half of the game.

      • dannymac17 - May 12, 2014 at 1:08 PM

        But also take into account who CP is playing with

    • kb2408 - May 12, 2014 at 8:35 AM

      KD is only 25 and seemingly has dropped 30 a night since his 2nd season. Yeah, he can still improve a little but he’s still “arguably” the best player in the world. Once he gets better in the low-post it’s a wrap.

      • antistratfordian - May 12, 2014 at 3:10 PM

        KD is not anywhere near being “arguably” the best player in the world. And Chris Paul accounts for the same amount of points every game, except he’s also a 1st Team All-Defensive player.

  2. davidly - May 12, 2014 at 6:31 AM

    A postgame reporter was unfair regarding “the inexperience of the Washington guards” — especially considering Indy’s turnovers and that Stephenson and Hill coughed it up on both ends of the floor in crunch time. I mean, what is Whitman supposed to say when they still have a game to play? Why do reporters love to punk the players and staff so much?

  3. davidly - May 12, 2014 at 6:40 AM

    (continuing with the above) I mean, KH went out of his way to give George more credit than he deserved early, only to turn around and give a backhanded compliment here. Dude has had his defensive pedal to the floor all season long; they wouldn’t have home in the East had he not. And, contrary to what is alluded to in this post, last night was an example of Indy’s entire starting five showing grit and pulling a V out of a hat in spite of themselves and their bench. Look at all their numbers; not just PG’s.

  4. saint1997 - May 12, 2014 at 9:01 AM

    A+ – Doc Rivers’ coaching ingenuity

  5. xli2006 - May 12, 2014 at 9:06 AM

    Davidly,

    “KH went out of his way to give George more credit than he deserves.”

    Ha, umm no player in NBA history has gone for 39 pts, 12 rebs, and hit 7 3s in a playoff game… on the road no less. I’d say George was worthy of his “A” grade here.

    • davidly - May 12, 2014 at 10:12 AM

      Of course he gets an A. I was referring to his giving him too much credit earlier in the season, and then doing the whole “plays at his peak for a game” backhand.

    • davidly - May 12, 2014 at 10:14 AM

      Though I might not be the most eloquent amongst us, less umm-ing and ha-ing and more reading the entire comment might improve comprehension.

  6. john242322 - May 12, 2014 at 11:45 AM

    PG was on a different level last night. Great to watch. Only thing is, he’s capable of this type of performance every night so he needs to play more consistently like this. This guy is a special player who exerts so much energy every game guarding the other team’s best player. Truly impressive performance

  7. newyorkball82 - May 12, 2014 at 3:34 PM

    ^ Blinded by his love for Lebron… Lebron was not always a clutch player there buddy. He’s 29, and Durant is only 25. Three years ago, Lebron and the heat lost to Dallas in the finals. Remember? He was 26 and kinda choked if I recall.

  8. newyorkball82 - May 12, 2014 at 3:36 PM

    So to say Kevin Durant isn’t “anywhere near” being the best player in the world is a little biased and unfair.

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