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Clippers’ Paul George responds to Celtics’ Jayson Tatum’s comments about him

Paul George, Jayson Tatum

LOS ANGELES – Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum put up one of most the impressive lines of the night with 30 points, six rebounds, three assists, two steals, and two blocks on 12-of-24 shooting from the field and 5-of-10 from beyond the arc. Unfortunately, it was not enough as Paul George and the Clippers came out on top, 107-104. George finished with 25 points, five rebounds, and eight assists in 37 minutes of action.

One of the plays of the game was the game-tying 3-pointer from Tatum in regulation. Prior to hitting the shot, Tatum drove toward the right wing, crossed George over, and nailed the deep 3-pointer to tie the game up at 97 apiece and head to overtime:

Following the game, Tatum was asked about playing against the Kawhi Leonard-Paul George duo and if he gets a little extra motivated for these matchups.

“Yeah, especially if it’s somebody like me,” Tatum told ClutchPoints. “I’ve always looked up to Kawhi and PG. Especially PG. He’s one of my favorite players. That’s the opportunity to look for. Especially bright lights, big stage. You don’t want to back down. You know you want to compete and show them that you belong out here. Earn their respect, and I love competing against those guys, learning from them.”

After being informed of Tatum’s comments, George responded with a lighter side of himself, even acknowledging that he was put on a likely highlight for what won’t be the last time.

“It wasn’t the first time I was on a Tatum highlight, and it won’t be the last, I’m sure,” George responded with a smile. “That’s part of the game, that’s part of the game. I don’t buy into that. My job was to continue on and try to win the game.

“He’s special man, he’s a special talent. It says a lot about him when he has to go against myself, Pat, Kawhi, Moe and still pull his team together without Gordon in the lineup and still put up 30. It says a lot about his talent and his skill, but he’s good. He’s the reason the Celtics are off to the hot start they are.”

George is an interesting player comparison for a guy like Tatum. Both are long, play similar positions, and can handle the offensive scoring load while holding their own defensively. Tatum is still only 21 years of age, so he has a number of years to develop before hitting his prime.

The young Celtics star has helped his team overcome the loss of Gordon Hayward, leading them to the top of the Eastern Conference standings with an 11-3 record. If not for the Basketball Gods giving Marcus Smart an extremely unfriendly bounce in Sacramento over the weekend, the Celtics would’ve entered Wednesday night winners of 12 straight.

On the season, Tatum is averaging 20.9 points, 7.4 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 1.5 steals, and 2.6 3-pointers per game on 41.2 percent shooting from the field and 39.1 percent from beyond the arc.

If the Celtics and Clippers meet in the NBA Finals, it’ll be a star-studded affair that fans will surely enjoy.