Paul George and Kawhi Leonard did their best to go blow-for-blow with the Brooklyn Nets big three.
But during the Nets’ 124-120 win over the LA Clippers in a game that lived up to previous expectations, the Clippers all-star duo couldn’t keep up with Kevin Durant, James Harden and Kyrie Irving, especially. at the free throw line. The Brooklyn trio of stars combined to go 16 of 16 from the line.
Leonard was eight of nine on the line, but George went to the line only once in 36 minutes.
“I mean, I think it was disrespectful that he had a free throw attempt today,” said George, who had 26 points and six assists. “I’m going to leave it at that.”
The Clippers went to the line only 17 times compared to the Nets’ 26 trips.
George’s only free throw attempt came when he drove and scored against former teammate Landry Shamet under the basket with 6:58 left in the game. George almost had to initiate contact before getting rid of Shamet to get the foul. His three-point play gave the Clippers a 102-97 lead with 6:58 to play.
But in a game with five perennial All-Stars on the court, George felt he did not receive the respect of the umpire team.
“The number of plays that I initiated or created contact,” argued George. “And be sent to the line (one) time …”
The Nets bounced back from their 149-146 loss to the Washington Wizards by beating a Clippers team that had won 10 of their previous 11 games. Irving led all scorers with 39 points, Durant had 28 points and nine rebounds and Harden had a triple-double of 23 points, 14 assists and 11 rebounds.
“Like I said the other night, I took it personally not being able to score anyone,” Irving said of the loss to the Wizards, who scored 41 points from Russell Westbrook and 37 from Bradley Beal.
Leonard scored 33 points to go with five rebounds, five assists and four steals.
While George couldn’t get to the line, he and the Clippers discovered within two and a half minutes just how explosive the Nets’ super trio is.
Durant hit a 7 foot. Irving scored eight straight points. Harden then drilled a 3 step back to complete a 13-0 blitz.
When asked what the Clippers learned from defending the Nets’ Big Three that can help them in the long run, Nic Batum responded immediately.
“One thing’s for sure: we miss Pat Bev tonight,” Batum said of the injured Patrick Beverley, who is out with a knee injury. “I think we forgot about that guy a lot. It would be huge for us tonight, so Pat Bev come back, please.”