The Clippers’ Paul George tests positive for COVID-19, out for Friday’s play-in match against the Pelicans, per. report
The Clippers’ Paul George tests positive for COVID-19, out for Friday’s play-in match against the Pelicans, per.  report

The Clippers’ Paul George tests positive for COVID-19, out for Friday’s play-in match against the Pelicans, per. report

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That Los Angeles Clippers will be without star Paul George for their play-in game mod New Orleans Pelicans Friday night, when he entered the league’s health and safety protocols after testing positive for COVID-19, according to ESPN. This is, of course, a significant blow for a Clippers team with a shot at making it to the playoffs on the line against the Pelicans.

George scored 34 points in LA’s loss Minnesota Timberwolves in his first play-in game on Tuesday, so losing him is incredibly detrimental to the Clippers playoff chances. Now without both George and Kawhi Leonardof which the latter has been out all season and retraining after an ACL tear, the Clippers will face an uphill battle against a Pelicans team that caught fire in their first play-in victory against San Antonio Spurs earlier this week.

With George now out, the Clippers will lean on guys like Reggie Jackson and Marcus Morris to go up in George’s absence. While it’s never ideal to lose an All-Star player like George, LA played part of the season without George in the lineup as he dealt an elbow injury that put him on the sidelines in 48 games. During that time, head coach Tye Lue raised the guard Terance Mann to the starting lineup instead of the injured George, which we could see happen again. Another option is to insert Norman Powell into the starting lineup, which put 16 points off the bench for the Clippers in their loss to the Timberwolves. Powell poses a better scoring threat than Mann, who can also defend at the other end.

Losing George is costly, but let’s not write off the Clippers yet in this game. They still have a number of guys who can put points on the board and LA has the eighth best defense in the league. It’s going to be tough, especially against a Pelicans team where CJ McCollum and Brandon Ingram just collected for 59 points against Spurs, but that’s not impossible.

George will have to hope that his team can continue without him, for the winner of Friday’s match enters the playoffs as the No. 8 seed against the top-seeded Phoenix Suns, while the loser begins his offseason.


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