NBA Playoffs: For OKC, when Paul George taps into Playoff P mode, the sky is the limit –

Earlier this year, I asked a Western Conference scout what his biggest concern with the Thunder would be come playoff time. Shooting, he said. His reasoning was that outside of Paul George, the Thunder don’t really have any truly reliable shooters to stretch the floor, and thus all their isolation sets and head-down rim attacks become all the more difficult in congestion. Two things on that: 

It’s true Sometimes, Paul George is all you need

George was in his own world in the Thunder’s Game 1 win over Utah, ripping off eight 3-pointers, on 11 attempts, en route to 36 points as all the intrigue of OKC’s peak powers came to fruition. Westbrook was pretty good, if not terribly efficient. Melo was good. The defense was sound. But George was just lights out, and whatever deficiencies the Thunder might have, when George is cooking like that, nothing else matters. When he’s cooking like that and they’re playing pretty well as a team on top of it? Forget about it. The Thunder can beat anyone. 

And as usual, Paul’s impact wasn’t limited to the offensive side. 

In a somewhat surprising move, Billy Donovan started George on Joe Ingles. Well, I suppose it wasn’t that surprising given that George and Ingles are a natural matchup from a positional standpoint, but if you’re Donovan, there had to be at least some temptation to put your best defender in George on Utah’s best player in Donovan Mitchell. But it worked out great because George all but erased Ingles, particularly early, and the Jazz, already a relatively limited offensive unit, just can’t score enough to hang with a hot-shooting OKC team when Mitchell is going at it largely alone. It was the classic “give the best player his points and shut everyone else down”

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