Can the Clippers breakthrough to the finals without Paul George?
April 13, 2023
It's that time of the year again. The NBA playoffs are upon us, and the Los Angeles Clippers are once again in the mix. But will they overcome their notorious playoff misfortune and make a deep run this year?
The bad news is the Clippers will be without their lone 2023 All-star player, Paul George, for the start of the playoffs. George hyperextended his knee during a game against the Oklahoma City Thunder in late March when he collided with Lue Dort. The team has been cautious with his recovery ever since. It's unclear when he'll be able to return to action, but one thing is for sure, the Clippers will need him if they hope to make a serious run.
This injury couldn't have come at a worse time for the Clippers, who have been playing some of their best basketball of the season in recent weeks. They finished the regular season with a 44-38 record for fifth place in the Western Conference. In addition, Kawhi Leonard has been playing at an All-NBA level, averaging 23.8 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 3.9 assists per game. But even with Leonard's heroics, the Clippers will need more from their supporting cast if they hope to advance.
Of course, even if the Clippers were utterly healthy, their playoff track record is still a matter. They are a team that has historically struggled in the postseason, despite having some talented rosters. They have one conference finals appearance in their franchise history, and last season's disappointment still lingers in fans' minds.
This year may be different. Leonard may put the team on his back and lead them to glory. Bones Hyland, a revelation since acquired, may continue to step up in George's absence. Maybe Tyronn Lue, who has a championship pedigree as a coach, will make all the right moves.
Or the Clippers' ill fortune in the playoffs will again rear its ugly head. It's impossible to know for sure, but one thing is certain. The next few weeks will be full of drama, excitement, and possible heartbreak or celebration for Clippers fans.
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