Paul George revealed that the NBA’s bubble format has gotten the best of him at times.
He shot 10-for-47 in Games 2-4, before breaking out with 35 points in Game 5. But his problems were unrelated to basketball.
George said he’s been battling anxiety and depression in the bubble. The mental toll of locking players into a location away from family and friends for an extended period of time was worrisome from the start. Jaylen Brown and Fred VanVleet have said they aren’t doing the best mentally, and George revealed the same for himself after Tuesday’s game.
“I underestimated mental health, honestly,” George said. “I had anxiety, a little bit of depression. Just being locked in here, I just wasn’t there. I checked out.”
While George struggled early in the series, his name trended on Twitter every day. The nickname “Pandemic P” went viral as a play off of his “Playoff P” nickname.
George said that he’s feeling better now, but it’s an example of the off-court battles players may face in the bubble. Sure, they’re staying in some of the most luxurious hotels Orlando has to offer, and the NBA has scheduled daily activities for entertainment, but being away from family and close friends can take a toll that eventually impacts a player’s performance on the court.
And besides, a physically and mentally healthy George takes the Clippers to another level.
One of the dirtiest things you can do in sports is intentionally injuring a player. After Marcus Morris tripped over Luka Doncic’s injured ankle yesterday, people pondered if it was an accident or intentional.
Morris has been in his share of questionable plays in his career. There was the time he hit the ball on Justin Anderson’s head, and Sixers fans remember all too well when he kneed Ben Simmons in the back of the head while attempting to get off the ground.
During Tuesday’s play, Morris didn’t appear to be looking at Doncic’s ankle while stepping on it, but other angles showed Morris coming from the other side of the court to trip Doncic. The Mavericks star was injured in Game 3 and labeled a game-time decision before Game 4 after hitting a buzzer-beater to beat the Clippers. Morris was called out on social media after the play and called a dirty player.
If you were expecting an apology from Morris, you shouldn’t. He went to Twitter and boldly stated that there was no malicious intent.
“Basketball has never been that serious to try to hurt somebody,” Morris said on Twitter. “Im not apologizing for [expletive] because I know what I put into this game day in and day out. It was a mistake deal wit it. Competing is why I play.”