Paul George delivered exactly what was needed to move the Los Angeles Clippers one step closer to their first conference finals berth.
With Kawhi Leonard sidelined with a knee injury, George responded with one of the best postseason performances of his NBA career with 37 points, 16 rebounds, and five assists to lead the Clippers to a 119-111 victory over the Utah Jazz in Game 5 of their Western Conference semifinals series Wednesday night.
George became the first player in franchise history to post at least 35 points, 15 rebounds, and five assists in a playoff game.
“It was no secret. I knew I had to be big tonight and gotta be big going forward,” George said.
Marcus Morris scored 25 points and Reggie Jackson added 22 for the Clippers. Los Angeles won its third straight game to push the top-seeded Jazz to the brink of elimination. The Clippers shot 51% from the field in Leonard’s absence after he played a critical role in helping them win Games 3 and 4 in the series.
“Our season is alive because of his shouldering of all the work he’s done,” George said. “We got to hold it together and continue to keep this boat afloat until he returns.”