Paul George has often been mocked for calling himself 'Playoff P' a few years ago, but failing to deliver in the NBA Playoffs. Moreover, the slander reached a new high when George and the LA Clippers lost in the second round of the 2020 NBA Playoffs after taking a 3-1 lead over the Denver Nuggets. George's poor shooting earned him the distasteful 'Pandemic P' nickname.
The 31-year-old has been heavily criticized throughout the 2020-21 NBA season any time his shots did not fall or if he made a mistake. This criticism has heavily overshadowed his best moments and the numbers he has managed for the LA Clippers.
Top 3 games where Paul George went from Pandemic P to Playoff P in the NBA Playoffs to shut his critics
PG13 earned an All-NBA selection (third team) in 2021. He also had possibly his greatest night for the LA Clippers in Game 5 against the Utah Jazz on the road, leading them to victory without Kawhi Leonard.
George seemed to turn the clock back to his days with the Indiana Pacers, when he led the team to consecutive appearances in the Eastern Conference Finals against LeBron James' Miami Heat. The Pacers lost in seven and six games in 2013 and 2014 respectively, but George earned several plaudits for his performances.
Although Paul George's best postseason days have come with the Pacers, this piece will take a look at three times when the 31-year-old went from 'Pandemic P' to 'Playoff P' with the LA Clippers.
#3 Paul George vs Dallas Mavericks - Game 5, First Round, 2020 NBA Playoffs
The LA Clippers and Dallas Mavericks have battled in the first round of the NBA Playoffs for the last two years. LAC have ultimately come out on top in both series in six and seven games, respectively.
Although last year's series was not as dramatic for the Clippers as it was this year (they lost the first two games at home), the most anticipated game was arguably Game 5. Dallas came on the back of a huge win with Luka Doncic's three at the buzzer in OT.
Entering Game 5, George had immense pressure on his shoulders after putting up just nine points in 45 minutes played in Game 4. But PG delivered a vintage 'Playoff P' effort with 35 points on 12-18 shooting from the field. He also recorded a 4-8 from the three-point line and was perfect from the free-throw line on seven attempts in just 25 minutes of action.
On the back of George's big night, the LA Clippers won Game 5 by 43 points and went on to seal the series in Game 6.
#2 Paul George vs Utah Jazz - Game 3, Western Conference Semifinals, 2021 NBA Playoffs
Paul George has been a little inconsistent in the 2021 NBA Playoffs. Rough nights from the field have become a bit of a norm throughout the first round and have continued into the five games played so far in the second round.
The LA Clippers found themselves in another 0-2 deficit in the 2021 NBA Playoffs and were at risk of falling further behind. But George delivered a stunning performance in Game 3 at home, helping the team take its first win of the series against the top-seeded Utah Jazz.
Kawhi Leonard was sensational, leading all scorers with 34 points, but Paul George's efforts were almost equally impressive. PG added 31 points and five assists in the game. He made half of his 24 shots from the field and six of his 10 attempts from the three-point line, helping the LA Clippers register a 26-point win over Utah.