Small things paying big dividends for the Clippers
December 21, 2023
The little things, they say, make all the difference in winning or losing in sports. Those nitty-gritty details, the stuff that rarely finds its way onto the box score, that's where champions carve their path. And amid this Clippers' whirlwind, that truth stands taller than ever.
Since James Harden waltzed into the Clippers' world, it's been a tale of redemption, a saga of triumphs rising from the heap of a 0-6 start. But amid the glitz of Harden's arrival, there's a quieter hero, Paul George, the man doing the dirty work, leading by punishing his body for the team's sake and carrying out the unglamorous yet indispensable tasks.
George is about more than just the amassing of gaudy points and rebounds. He's about the intangibles, the moments that ignite a team's spirit. His willingness to throw his body into the fray for those loose balls, to dive, hustle, and fight, those moments are rewriting the Clippers' narrative. The Clippers have currently won eight games in a row and have moved into sixth place in the Western Conference.
"You know, it's huge when one of your best players goes down for loose balls," head coach Ty Lue said after a recent home game. "But it just shows you these guys want to win, you know, and so putting it on the line every single night, you know and playing big minutes. You know is huge for us. And so, when Kawhi (Leonard), PG (Paul George), Russ (Russell Westbrook), James (Harden) are leading by example like that, all the other guys have no problem of the following them."
Amid this eight-game winning streak, where stats dance off the charts and victories pile up, George's unspoken contributions set the tone for this team. Sure, you'll find his name in the box score, but the real impact, the heartbeat of his game, lies in those moments that don't make the headlines.
His willingness to sacrifice, to do the dirty work, has created a ripple effect. It's become contagious. The starters feel it, the bench players feel it, the whole team breathes it in. Suddenly, it's not just George diving for loose balls, it's a collective effort, a team ethos.
Harden's arrival did inject a potent scoring boost, but George's numbers? They're more than points and rebounds. They're about 4.5 deflections per game, 1.7 steals, and countless moments where his grit turned the tide.
The beauty of George's contribution lies in its subtlety. It's not something that'll grab headlines or garner MVP chants but ask any Clippers fan, they know the value of a player willing to do the dirty work.
So as the Clippers ride this wave of wins, as Leonard and Harden's brilliance dazzles the court, let's not forget the hero in the shadows, making the sacrifices that elevate a team from good to great. George's willingness to dig deep to tend to the minutiae is turning the team's focus into a force to be reckoned with.
The Clippers next home games are December 23, at 12:30 p.m. against the Celtics, December 26, at 7:30 p.m. against the Hornets, December 29, they face the Grizzlies at 7:30 p.m. and January 1, they face the Heat at 7:30 p.m.
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