West Notes: Clippers, Paul George, Thunder, Blazers


Star forwards Paul George and Kawhi Leonard are getting ready for the playoffs. That much was evident in the Clippers’ road win over the Bulls on Thursday.Paul George, Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers, NBA

George scored 28 points and hit six 3-pointers. Leonard scored 27.

“We talk about the last 20 games, putting the ball back in PG’s hands so he can get used to it so when we get to the playoffs we know exactly what we want to do,” coach Tyronn Lue told reporters. “Now, he’s just getting accustomed to running more pick-and-rolls and keeping the ball in his hands.”

Along with all that, George passed for seven assists with just one turnover.

“It was just staying under control, playing through our teammates and I think just taking what they gave us,” he said. “I didn’t think we were out of the norm, we weren’t out of character, we kind of just played our style, slowed the game down for ourselves and took the shots that were available.”

  • Leonard exited Tuesday’s loss to the Timberwolves with back spasms but showed no signs of any issues vs. the Bulls. He went 12-of-17 shooting.


The Thunder moved back into a tie with the Nuggets for first in the Western Conference after topping the Mavericks on Thursday.

All-Star guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, of course, led the way with 31 points.

Meanwhile, coach Mark Daigneault praised the energy of Jalen Williams, back from injury.

“It comes from how hard he plays,” Daigneault said, via Joel Lorenzi of The Oklahoman. “It’s really that simple. It’s interesting to see guys that can get a lot of minutes, that can bite into your effort and energy over the course of a long season. And when you get the ball more, that can bite into your effort and your energy. That’s human nature.”

  • Former NBA center and current TNT analyst Shaquille O’Neal suggested the Thunder could be first-round playoff fodder. “The Lakers or the Warriors can beat the Thunder in the first round,” O’Neal said Inside the NBA.

Trail Blazers

  • Center Deandre Ayton added to his career-best stretch with 31 points and 14 rebounds, but the Blazers fell at home to the Knicks on Thursday.
  • Guard Anfernee Simons missed the game with a sore knee after playing 43 minutes the previous night vs. the Hawks. He will embark on Portland’s upcoming two-game trip, per Aaron J. Fentress of the Oregonian.
  • Rookie guard Scoot Henderson started in Simons’ place and finished with 12 points, seven rebounds and six assists.

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