Paul George calls out refs as Clippers lose close game to Nuggets

ByOhm Youngmisuk ESPN logo
Wednesday, November 15, 2023

DENVER -- The LA Clippers played their best game with James Harden to date. But they could not overcome the defending champion Denver Nuggets-- and, inPaul George's view, the officiating crew.

The Clippers star was livid with the referees following the Nuggets' 111-108 win over the Clippers at Ball Arena on Tuesday night.

George led all scorers with 35 points and seven rebounds, but the Clippers dropped their sixth straight game and fifth with Harden in the lineup.

George said he should have gone to the line more than the five times that the crew of Josh Tiven, Natalie Sago and Matt Boland called during the game. George was whistled for a technical foul for arguing with the referees that he was fouled on a breakaway dunk attempt he missed late in the second quarter.

"I thought we played great," George said. "It's tough, the adversity of playing against the extra three [officials]. I thought they were awful. But, [against the] defending champs, we got to play better. There's a lot to be positive about. I'm not one for moral victories, but I thought we showed more of a sign of a team tonight that's close to getting it over the hump."

The Clippers erased a 13-point deficit and led by seven with six minutes remaining in the fourth. In a tightly contested finish, George had a chance to potentially send the game to overtime when his contested 3-pointer with 7.6 seconds left got wedged between the side of the rim and the backboard.

The Clippers lost the ensuing jump ball to Nikola Jokic (32 points, 16 rebounds, nine assists), and Denver ran the clock out. The Nuggets took 32 free throws compared to the Clippers' 24, and George said there should have been plenty more trips to the line, especially when it came to his night.

"It was bad," George said when asked about how the game finished. "Five free throws is very disrespectful on this night. So many times I got hit on layups, 3-pointers, it was constant.

"Jump shots, getting hit, smacked on the forearm. I mean, it was poor, a poor job. But, again, we got to be able to beat these guys on their floor and not rely on that. Again, they [are] calling something on one end, they got to call it on the other."

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