LOS ANGELES (AP) – Paul George took a hard fall in the fourth quarter. He may have taken the Los Angeles Clippers’ championship hopes with him.
George was injured Tuesday night in a 101-100 loss to Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and the Oklahoma City Thunder.
The Stars guard hit a layup after being fouled by Luguentz Dort with 4:38 left. He lay on his back for several minutes before being helped to his feet. Supported by staff on either side, George headed to the locker room, seemingly unable to put weight on his right leg.
“I went up on the jump, kind of hit him in the leg,” Dort said. “I didn’t do it on purpose, definitely an accident.”
There was no update on George after the game. Clippers coach Tyronn Lue said he is still being evaluated. George later left the arena on the back of a cart with his right leg outstretched.
George’s vice president, Kawhi Leonard, said he hasn’t spoken to George since.
“I didn’t see the play,” Leonard. “I just thought he got hit in the face then.”
George had 18 points, seven rebounds and five assists. A potential loss so close to the end of the regular season could put the Clippers’ postseason aspirations in question.
“Next man up,” Leonard said of the possibility of playing without George. “We have a group of guys that still want to win, love to play basketball, so we’ll see what happens.”
Gilgeous-Alexander scored 31 points against his former team. Jalen Williams added 20 points for the Thunder.
George dunked in the third, spinning 360 degrees before slamming the ball into the hoop as the crowd cheered.
Leonard and George stepped up in the second half after shooting a combined 5 of 16 in the first half, but it wasn’t enough. Leonard finished with 21 points.
“I just didn’t think we played well all night offensively,” Lue said. “We played too slowly and didn’t share the ball. When we don’t play good basketball, these are the results you get.”
The match was tied at 91-all when George fell. Leonard scored before the Thunder ran off six straight points to take a 97-93 lead.
Nicolas Batum hit a jumper to pull the Clippers within 101-100. The Clippers lost a coaching challenge on an offside call with 30 seconds left. The Thunder drove in but missed the shot and Leonard grabbed the rebound.
Leonard dribbled in the final seconds when the Clippers had no timeouts left. He was chased by Thunder defenders and didn’t get a shot.
“I’ll take ownership of it,” Leonard said. “I definitely should have gotten hit.”
The teams kept it close throughout the period. Gilgeous-Alexander scored the last 10 points for the Thunder and they trailed 81-80 at the end.
The Clippers jumped out to a 14-point lead to start the game. They opened with an 18-4 run, but the Thunder tied the score a few minutes later.
Thunder: Improved to 14-21 on the road against the West. … Won five of six overall.
Clippers: Leonard received a technical and Terance Mann received two technical fouls at 4:24 of the second period. Mann was ejected. Leonard said he was told he got booed for clapping in the referee’s face. “I didn’t believe it,” he said.
The teams play again Thursday night in Los Angeles.
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