Shaquille O’Neal Delivers Consequential Warning About Paul George and the Scrappy Clippers

Have the Los Angeles Clippers become a dark-horse team in the Western Conference?

That appears to be the case now that Paul George is healthy. LA stayed afloat without PG and Kawhi Leonard for most of this season, but the former now gives them elite scoring, an element that could make them a dangerous matchup for any playoff team.

Following George’s recent return to the court, NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal seemed impressed with LA. In fact, he even delivered a strong warning to the rest of the West.

Paul George had a stellar return with the Clippers

Paul George hadn’t played since Dec. 22 with an elbow injury. But the seven-time All-Star returned on March 29 and put on a show.

Despite the Clippers trailing the Utah Jazz by 25 points at one point, they rallied to win 121-115. George dropped 34 in the win, the most points by a player who had missed the previous 40 or more games within one season. He also dished out six assists and shot 10-of-20 from the field, making six of his nine three-point attempts.

The victory strengthened the Clippers’ hold on the eighth seed in the West at 37-39. They will have to win one game in the NBA Play-In Tournament to make the postseason, but that shouldn’t be an issue considering the level of teams they will likely have to play in the New Orleans Pelicans (32-43), San Antonio Spurs (31-44), and (the NBA’s most disappointing team) Los Angeles Lakers (31-44).

And if the Clippers make the playoffs, Shaq thinks they will be a problem.

Shaquille O’Neal delivered a warning about the Clippers

NBA Legend Shaquille O'Neal and Clippers star Paul George.
(L-R) Shaquille O’Neal and Paul George. | Ethan Miller/Getty Images for Icy Hot; Genaro Molina/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Paul George gives the Clippers an element they haven’t had: a pure scorer. So, since he now rejoins a scrappy LA team that has done enough to stay afloat all year, NBA legend and Inside the NBA commentator Shaquille O’Neal is impressed with the squad’s potential.

“This season, they are the masters of playing from behind,” O’Neal said on the March 29 episode of Inside the NBA. “A lot of teams play from behind, but they do it consistently. … I said this the last three years, if Paul George can play like he played tonight, they gonna be dangerous with or without Kawhi.”

Did you hear that Phoenix Suns and/or Memphis Grizzlies? You guys better be ready for the Clippers.

LA has the firepower to cause problems in the playoffs

If Kawhi Leonard returns during the playoffs, the Clippers will immediately have a chance to contend for a title, no matter who they play. Leonard is one of the best two-way players the game has ever seen, and he and Paul George may have led the Clippers to the NBA Finals last season had Kawhi not gotten hurt during the Western Conference semifinals.

But George has already proven he can cause problems on his own.

The Clippers will likely either play the No. 1 seeded Phoenix Suns or No. 2 seeded Memphis Grizzlies in the first round (if they get through the NBA Play-In Tournament). George and the Clippers took the eventual Western Conference champion Suns to six games in last season’s conference finals without Leonard.

Even if the Clippers don’t advance past the first round, no one wants to have a tough series that early in the playoffs. That could have lasting effects on the Suns for the rest of the postseason. But Phoenix also can’t expect to win just because they’re playing an eight seed. George’s scoring abilities can cause issues. He averaged a whopping 28.7 points and 10.5 rebounds during the conference finals last season.

No one has looked at the Clippers all year. Not having your two best players will do that. However, this team with Paul George can make some noise. If Kawhi Leonard returns, the Western Conference needs to watch out: The LA Clippers could become a problem.

Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference

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