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Paul George downplays Clippers disappointment: ‘This is not a championship-or-bust year for us’

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Paul George downplays Clippers disappointment: 'This is not a championship-or-bust year for us'

Paul George accepts the Los Angeles Clippers failed to live up to lofty expectations but insists the season never felt like a “championship-or-bust” scenario.

The Clippers were among the favorites to become NBA champions after bringing in superstars George and Kawhi Leonard but their wait for a maiden conference finals appearance continued after a disappointing evening in Orlando on Tuesday.

George had just 10 points on 4-of-16 shooting and Leonard put up only 14 as the Denver Nuggets ran out 104-89 winners in a Game 7 of the Western Conference semifinals, becoming the first team to recover from consecutive 3-1 series deficits in the same postseason.

While the defeat hurts for George now, he remains convinced the team will continue to grow together.

“It was obvious pressure to live up to the title expectations. But as a player, I mean, you want that. It’s the first time I’ve been in that situation where we’re expected to win,” George said. “But it is what it is. It’s no cop out. The fact of the matter is, we didn’t live up to that expectation.

“But I think internally, we’ve always felt, this is not a championship-or-bust year for us. We can only get better the longer we stay together and the more we’re around each other. 

“The more chemistry as a group, the better. I think that’s really the tale of the tape of this season. We just didn’t have enough time together.”

George is keen not to see any knee-jerk reactions, responding when asked what roster changes he would like to see: “None. None. It’s our first year together. 

“You can’t even say we want to change our roster. We like what we’ve got. I mean, we’ve been saying it all year. It’s just about chemistry, being together. The more we can be together, the better we’ll be. It’s year one. We’ve got a lot to reflect on. A lot to look at going forward and to get better with.”

George and Leonard, a title winner with the Toronto Raptors last season, fell short this year but the former has enjoyed playing alongside his new team-mate.

“I mean, it was great. Great first season with Kawhi. You know, still learning, figuring each other out,” he said. 

“But I thought we had a great year playing off each other. We can only improve off that. But I mean, it’s pressure you want. It’s pressure you want. You want that pressure. 

“It’s the first time I’ve been on a team and not be considered an underdog. So it was different, but you want that pressure as a competitor, as a guy that wants to compete. You want that pressure. 

“We didn’t make it to where we wanted to get to. Tip our hats off to Denver. They played great, and again, all we’ve got to do is look forward to the next one.”

Leonard added: “We were right there. There’s no excuses. We should have finished it off. Like I said, the last three games pretty much mirrored each other.”

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Christine founded Sports Grind Entertainment with an aim to bring relevant and unaltered Sports news to the general public with a specific view point for each story catered by the team. She is a proficient journalist who holds a reputable portfolio with proficiency in content analysis and research.

Christine founded Sports Grind Entertainment with an aim to bring relevant and unaltered Sports news to the general public with a specific view point for each story catered by the team. She is a proficient journalist who holds a reputable portfolio with proficiency in content analysis and research.

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Lakers’ Frank Vogel and Anthony Davis Laud LeBron James’ Dominating Gameplay Against Jamal Murray

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Lakers' Frank Vogel and Anthony Davis Laud LeBron James' Dominating Gameplay Against Jamal Murray

The Los Angeles Lakers are 3-1 up in the WCF. They’re one win away from making it to the NBA Finals, and it took a special effort from LeBron James in the final minutes of Game 4 to seal victory for the purple and gold. 

Jamal Murray has been the hottest player in the bubble, helping his team complete two monumental comeback in the Playoffs. He’s been equally deadly against the Lakers and threatened to take the Game 4 away from them in the dying minutes. 

That’s when King James switched to guarding Murray and effectively limited him from scoring big. LeBron took on the challenge and came out as the victor, much to the praise of his teammates and head coach Frank Vogel. 

NBA Bubble followers would know how dangerous Jamal Murray has been. In the list of active players, he has the second-highest PPG average in the bubble, right behind Anthony Davis. The Lakers have had a tough time restricting Murray in the WCF, as he just seems to beam with confidence and guide his team over the line. 

Frank Vogel and Anthony Davis laud LeBron James for his clutch time heroics 

LeBron James took up the assignment of guarding Murray in the final quarter and put in vital minutes against him. LeBron’s defense proved to be a significant reason behind the Lakers’ victory as Murray was allowed to make just three field goals in the fourth quarter.

“LeBron asked for the assignment and obviously I granted it. He did a great job down the stretch… Nothing was really working to slow him down until LeBron took that assignment, so game ball to him,” Frank Vogel said after the game. 

Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Moreover, Anthony Davis described the winning attitude of LeBron and his desire to emerge as the winner at any challenging cost. “I think he [LeBron] just loves the challenges, honestly. Especially late game… He loves to take on those challenges and make them score over him,” Davis said. “He’s a great defensive player.”

AD showered heaps of praise on LeBron for containing Jamal Murray in the fourth quarter. “He did a hell of a job at the end of the game…He wants that one-on-one challenge, and he did a hell of a job.”

LeBron recognizes the greatness in Jamal Murray 

The 2020 NBA Playoffs has been a platform for Jamal Murray to showcase the world his incredible skills. Moreover, the 23-year-old performed an MJ-Esque move in Game 4, a beautiful up-and-under layup against LeBron. 

However, King James had the last laugh as the Lakers clinched a six-point victory. After the win, LBJ reflected on his matchup with Murray and said, “I knew it was winning time and Jamal [Murray] had it going. … I told my teammates that I had him.”

Murray is currently averaging 26.5 points against the Lakers in the WCF. He’s been a dangerous customer on the offensive end, and LeBron acknowledged it in the recent post-game presser. 

“Hell of a player. One of the hottest guys that we have in the bubble today out of the four teams remaining. I just wanted to try to take the challenge. He’s a tough guard, very shifty. He’s a triple threat,” James said, per Michael Scotto of USA Today. 

As a result of the Game 4 defeat, the Nuggets are on the verge of exiting the bubble after an excellent campaign. The Lakers are now the heavy favorites to advance to the finals.

LeBron has never lost a series after going 3-1 up! Furthermore, we doubt if Denver will pull off a comeback like they did against the Jazz and the Clippers. 

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Christine founded Sports Grind Entertainment with an aim to bring relevant and unaltered Sports news to the general public with a specific view point for each story catered by the team. She is a proficient journalist who holds a reputable portfolio with proficiency in content analysis and research.

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“It’s Not Going To Be Like a Normal Roland Garros” – Victoria Azarenka Before French Open 2020

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"It's Not Going To Be Like a Normal Roland Garros" - Victoria Azarenka Before French Open 2020

French Open 2020 is set to commence soon. Delayed because of the COVID-19 situation, the French Open will be a big challenge for the players. While some big names have pulled out from the tournament, the talent pool is still very competitive. Victoria Azarenka is one of those players who will add great value to the red clay.

In stellar form, the Belarusian will look forward to her maiden French Open finals.

Talking about the delay, Azarenka said that Roland Garros would be different this time. There will be certain changes this year and players will have to adapt themselves accordingly.

“It’s not going to be like a normal Roland Garros where the ball bounces high and the court gets faster. I feel like it’s going to be something different. I feel like it’s going to be a day-to-day adjustment,” the tweet read.

Tennis – WTA Premier 5 – Italian Open – Foro Italico, Rome, Italy Belarus’ Victoria Azarenka in action during her quarter-final against Spain’s Garbine Muguruza |REUTERS

Victoria Azarenka all set to make an impact in Paris

Victoria Azarenka is in fine touch this season. She won the Cincinnati Open and made it to the US Open finals.

She steps into the European session with a realistic chance at the French Open 2020 trophy.

Well you’re right, I feel like especially from last year, I felt that I finally start to kind of finding my rhythm, actually enjoying myself playing on clay, siding instead of cussing the play out of every single time I play on it,Azarenka stated.

“I was actually looking forward to playing. I feel like I enjoy better, I adjust better. As I said earlier, I think it’s going to be a lot about adaptation from day-to-day. I’m actually excited about kind of building up my game on clay. The second-year I’m enjoying after 16 years on tour. It’s time to make some evolution on clay. I’m looking forward to it.”

The void in the French Open 2020

With some of the biggest names missing in action from the French Open 2020, it is anticipated that the tournament won’t be as successful as the previous years.

Victoria Azarenka in action
Tennis – WTA Premier 5 – Italian Open – Foro Italico, Rome, Italy – September 16, 2020 Belarus’ Victoria Azarenka in action during her second round match against Venus Williams of the U.S. Pool via REUTERS/Clive Brunskill

However, it is difficult to overlook the existing block of players. The fascinating aspect of this year’s talent pool is that there is a blend of youth and experience. It’s difficult to make predictions because every player comes with their own unique strengths and weaknesses.

Even though the absence of some of the biggest names will be felt, some exceptional clay court tennis by the current batch of players will fill the void.

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Christine founded Sports Grind Entertainment with an aim to bring relevant and unaltered Sports news to the general public with a specific view point for each story catered by the team. She is a proficient journalist who holds a reputable portfolio with proficiency in content analysis and research.

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“I Don’t Have to Focus on Mahomes”- Lamar Jackson Hell Bent on Proving Doubters Wrong

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"I Don't Have to Focus on Mahomes"- Lamar Jackson Hell Bent on Proving Doubters Wrong

Patrick Mahomes has started the ongoing NFL season right where he left off in 2019. The 2018 NFL MVP winner has helped the Chiefs to a 2-0 record. Andy Reid’s boys will take on another high-flying outfit in Week Three in the form of the Lamar Jackson-led Baltimore Ravens.

The Ravens ran riot in Week One against Cleveland Browns. They beat the Browns by a 38-6 scoreline. The Ravens followed that up with another convincing win over Deshaun Watson’s Houston Texans in Week Two. They host the Chiefs on Monday night. This is easily the most-anticipated game of the week.

ALSO READ- Patrick Mahomes Debuts on TIME Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People of 2020 List

Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson talks about rival Patrick Mahomes

Aug 17, 2020; Owings Mills, Maryland, USA; Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson (8) throws during training camp at Under Armour Performance Center. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Lamar Jackson is not focusing on his upcoming battle against rival Patrick Mahomes. Both these quarterbacks are at the top of their game right now. Some critics have even compared their rivalry to that of the legendary Peyton Manning and Tom Brady. However, Jackson is not taking those comparisons seriously, at least not for now.

“I don’t have to focus on Mahomes and I have to focus on their defense. I have to focus on scoring but also have to focus on my job and making my offense do our thing. But my defense has to worry about him – and their offense,” Jackson told the press on Monday.

Jackson is focused on beating the Kansas City Chiefs on Monday night

The reigning NFL MVP award holder is confident heading into Monday’s blockbuster tie at the M&T Bank Stadium. He spoke about how the Ravens will not hold back when they face the Super Bowl LIV winners, Kansas City Chiefs, in Week Three.

He said, “When we go into the game, it’s always a statement. It’s any given Sunday, any given Monday, Thursday – whenever you play. When we go into the game, like I said, we’re going to focus on our assignment, focus on doing what we’re supposed to do, which is go win that game. That’s what our goal is.

“We’re focusing on winning this game. All [of] our goal is beating the Chiefs right now. They’re the only ones in our way for on and on in the season right now. We just have to focus on beating them – that’s all,” Jackson said.

The Ravens and the Chiefs are yet to taste defeat in the 2020 NFL season. Both teams have outperformed their opponents over the first two weeks of the regular season. Between the two teams, coach John Harbaugh’s side has looked more confident, both from a defensive and offensive point of view.

Mahomes and Co. will pose a threat to the Ravens’ unbeaten streak in Week Three. But if anyone can beat the red-hot Chiefs at the moment, it is Lamar Jackson’s Baltimore Ravens.

ALSO READ- Bill Belichick Raves on About ‘Underrated’ Seahawks Quarterback Russell Wilson

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Christine founded Sports Grind Entertainment with an aim to bring relevant and unaltered Sports news to the general public with a specific view point for each story catered by the team. She is a proficient journalist who holds a reputable portfolio with proficiency in content analysis and research.

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