Montrezl Harrell Says He Almost Punched Paul George In NBA Bubble

In a piece for The Players’ Tribune, Montrezl Harrell says he almost punched Paul George in the NBA bubble. 

NBA, Montrezl Harrell, Paul George
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Harrell and George were teammates on the Los Angeles Clippers, who blew a 3-1 lead to the Denver Nuggets in the second round of the 2020 playoffs. 

Harrell left the bubble after his grandmother died. When he returned, he wasn’t himself. 

“I get back — we’re basically in the playoffs,” Harrell wrote. “Fast forward, and we’re in the middle of a game versus Denver. We set up a play. Everybody says they’re switching one through five type shit. Everybody knows coverage. Then in the game, the situation comes. It’s in the pick-and-roll with PG, Jamal Murray, Jokić, and me. Screen comes, I yell, ‘Switch!’ We switch it. He still fights over the screen. Jokić slips down the middle of the lane — boom — shoots and gets the points. Doc calls a time-out just like that.

“On the way over to the huddle, I say, ‘Bro, that’s a switch, P.’ He’s like, ‘No, I thought—’ And I’m like, ‘Bro, ain’t no I thought.’ I said, ‘It’s a switch, bro. Everybody in this shit knows the coverage but you.’ He was like, ‘Hey, who are you talking to?’ 

“OK, time-out — I’m simple. Real motherfucker. That’s why a lot of people, I think, don’t like me. At the end of the day, everybody’s out here in between these lines because we’re trying to, one, feed our family, but, two do some shit for the team, for the organization, for the city. Real talk. I came back to the Bubble for this, after having to bury my grandma in the ground, bro. The person who raised me, the reason I play this game. I was so fucked up mentally, more than I even knew. Alright, with that in mind…. I told P right then and there, in front of coaches and everybody, ‘I will knock you the fuck out, bro. You’re trippin’. You was wrong, bro. You’re WRONG.’ 

“I can look back on that now and realize I went too far in the heat of the moment. I realize this is a business and you can’t talk like that to the star player. But when you’re going through grief, you only see what’s right in front of you.”

Harrell signed with the Los Angeles Lakers for the 2020-21 season. He won the 2019-20 NBA Sixth Man of the Year Award with the Clippers, who have never made the NBA Finals in franchise history. 

Harrell missed the entire 2023-24 season recovering from an ACL injury. He’s currently an unrestricted free agent. 

One of the top scorers in the NBA, George left the Clippers this offseason for the Philadelphia 76ers. 

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