LOS ANGELES – Paul George has been motivated and fueled by “all the noise” around him all season, and winning an All-Star spot is another “milestone” in his recovery season, he said.
The LA Clippers point guard was named one of the Western Conference’s selected All-Star reserves Tuesday, joining teammate Kawhi Leonard, who previously was chosen as a starter in the Western Conference pool.
“With all the noise, everything that’s going on, you find motivation through it,” George said of all the criticism he’s heard since the Clippers collapse in the second round of last postseason. “If you dig deep, you will be surprised what comes out of it. Honestly, it was using everything as motivation, driving all of that into this year.
“[All-Star] It is a good milestone, the beginning of how my season is going. But definitely [not] where I want it to end. So I have a lot more work to do. “
George, who made his first five 3-point shots before finishing with 30 points in the Clippers’ 135-116 victory over the Washington Wizards on Tuesday, will make his seventh All-Star appearance.
George, however, joined a chorus of NBA stars who have expressed concern about an All-Star Game taking place this year amid a pandemic.
“I’m just not a fan of everything that’s going on,” George said. “I think it’s smart [to not hold one]. … I understand that we have an incredible league; I am not discrediting it. But I don’t think that, right in the middle of a pandemic, it’s a must have. “
George also said he was fined this season for a health and safety protocol precaution.
“Especially, [for] For personal reasons, I was fined for spending time with a teammate or inviting a teammate and yet we’re having this All-Star Game, “George explained.” So again, I have personal reasons why I don’t agree with the game [being held]. “
George said he did not want to elaborate on the fine, but said he will play in the All-Star Game on March 7 in Atlanta.
George entered Tuesday night averaging 24.4 points, 6.2 rebounds and 5.5 assists with a career-highest 51.1% shooting rate, including 47.1% from behind the 3-point arc.
The guard was not an All-Star last season after he did not play in the Clippers’ first 11 games, as he returned to action after offseason shoulder surgeries. Last postseason, George endured a shooting knockdown in the first round of the playoffs, before going 4 of 16 from the field and scoring 10 points in a Game 7 loss to the Denver Nuggets when the Clippers blew a 3-1 lead. 1 in the series. the second round.
George has said he has heard more “screeches” this season from opponents who “just live in the past.” He has been motivated to prove his skeptics wrong.
“In my opinion, he’s always been an All-Star,” Clippers coach Tyronn Lue said. “He’s one of the best two-way players in our league – you know he has been for a while.”
“He deserves it. And the kind of year he’s having, you know, this year shows the hard work he put in over the summer to get back to this point.”