Ohm YoungmisukESPN Editor3 minute read
DENVER – The LA Clippers played their best game with James Harden to date. But they couldn’t defeat the defending champion Denver Nuggets — and, according to Paul George, the officials’ team.
The Clippers star was furious with the referees following the Nuggets’ 111-108 victory over the Clippers at Ball Arena on Tuesday night.
George led all scorers with 35 points and seven rebounds, but the Clippers lost their sixth straight game and their fifth with Harden in the lineup.
George said he should have gone to the line more than five times the team of Josh Tiven, Natalie Sago and Matt Boland called during the game. George was whistled for a technical foul for arguing with the referees that he was fouled on a breakaway dunk attempt he missed late in the second quarter.
“I thought we played well,” George said. “It’s tough, the adversity of playing against the extra three (officials). I thought they were horrible. But (against the) defending champions, we have to play better. There’s a lot to be positive. I’m not one for moral victories, but I think we showed tonight more of a sign of a team that is on the verge of overcoming the obstacle.”
The Clippers erased a 13-point deficit and led by seven with six minutes left in the fourth. In a closely contested finale, George had a chance to send the game into overtime when his contested 3-pointer with 7.6 seconds left got stuck between the side of the rim and the backboard.
The Clippers lost the ensuing jump against Nikola Jokic (32 points, 16 rebounds, nine assists), and Denver ran out the clock. The Nuggets made 32 free throws to the Clippers’ 24, and George said there should have been a lot more travel to the line, especially when it came to his night.
“It was bad,” George said when asked how the match ended. “Five free throws, that was very disrespectful that night. So many times I got hit on layups, 3-pointers, it was constant.
“Jump shots, jabs, forearm slams. I mean, it was bad work, bad work. But, again, we have to be able to beat these guys on their court and not to count on that. Again, they (are) calling something at one end, they must call it at the other.”