NBA

NBA All-Star Game: Paul George recants his 2019 ‘bad shot’ claim after Damian Lillard’s half-court game-winner

Paul George has taken a lot of postseason heat over the years. It’s been somewhat undeserved, to be honest. He’s a great player who has had some pretty bad high-profile games. He’s had some great ones, too. In 2019, it wasn’t what George did on the court in Oklahoma City’s first-round loss to Portland that landed him among the social-media sharks, it was what he said in his postgame press conference after Damian Lillard had just hit this series-clinching 35-footer in his grill.

“That was a bad shot,” George infamously claimed. “I don’t care what anybody says. That’s a bad shot.”

George’s logic wasn’t necessarily off. For most basketball players, even the best ones in the world, bleeding the clock down to take a side-step 35 footer is not a good shot. But defending Lillard has long required operating by a different set of rules. He can make any shot from any spot at any time. Frankly, the bigger the moment, the better chance he’s going to stick it. George gave him too much space, plain and simple. 

In Sunday’s All-Star Game, Lillard did it again, this time ripping the Elam Ending game-winner from a step inside of half-court to give Team LeBron a 170-150 victory over Team Durant.

This time, George was on Lillard’s side as a member of Team LeBron and after the game, he was asked if watching Lillard hit that shot in that situation had him reconsidering his ‘bad shot’ stance on Lillard’s 2019 dagger. 

“I guess I was criticized for the right reason for calling Dame’s shot in the playoffs a bad shot,” George playfully admitted. “I mean, I see this guy’s range is crazy. And I mean, it’s not like it’s a half-court heave. These are shots that well in their range. … “It’s a great shot,” George concluded when pinned down about Lillard’s 2019 winner. “Two thumbs up.”

George full comment is below:

This is all in good fun, but it’s also a legitimate topic. Guarding guys like Damian Lillard and Stephen Curry, who also hit a half-court shot on Sunday, has turned every traditional defensive principle upside down. Protection priorities are inverted, extending seriously to half court. Over the last season and a half, Lillard has gone 8-for-12 on shots from 35-39 feet. And when the game is on the line, he is a killer. Nobody knows that more than George, who’s now seen it from both sides. 



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