Paul George out for Clippers’ play-in game vs. Pelicans
The Los Angeles Clippers will be without All-Star Paul George for their Friday play-in game against the New Orleans Pelicans after the wing entered COVID-19 protocols the morning of gameday.
The odds now shift against the Clippers with a win needed to make the playoffs, where the No. 1-seeded Phoenix Suns await their first-round opponent.
Los Angeles, which earned the Western Conference’s eighth seed with a 42-40 regular-season record, lost its first play-in game against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Tuesday, 109-104.
George led the team with 34 points and five assists in that game.
For the season, he is averaging 24.3 points, 6.9 rebounds and 5.7 assists.
The loss hurts with George also a strong defender who could help match up against New Orleans scorer Brandon Ingram.
The Clippers will likely turn to bench wings Terance Mann, Robert Covington and Norman Powell in George’s absence.
New Orleans entered the playoffs as the ninth seed in the West and defeated the 10th-seeded San Antonio Spurs, 113-103, on Wednesday.
Whichever team wins Friday at 7 p.m. will advance and play Game 1 in the first round of the playoffs in Phoenix. If that’s the Clippers, George’s status could threaten his availability with a quick turnaround for the first-round series against the Suns.
Tip-off Sunday is at 6 p.m. at Footprint Center, and the game will air on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station.