At face value, the Los Angeles Clippers and Utah Jazz seem to have no harsh feelings for one another. Players of respective teams seem to be all business in the series so far. However, a closer look at two of the players reveals a deep beef history. The two players are none other than Paul George and Joe Ingles.
So far in their second-round duel, the two players haven’t gone at it. Ingles admitted that he has forgotten all about his beef with Paul George. However, we can never be so sure of what the future holds. For all we know, Ingles just might be holding back. As the series gets deeper, we might see the two go at it at some point.
The beef began in 2018, particularly in a regular-season game between the Utah Jazz and Oklahoma City Thunder. A bit of a shoving match ensued between the two very early on in the game. Nothing really serious developed throughout the game. It would be later on, particularly in the playoffs, where things would pick up.
The two teams met each other in the first round of the 2018 playoffs. Before the postseason kicked off, Paul George famously gave himself the nickname “Playoff P” as a response to how he planned to contain rising star Donovan Mitchell. George must’ve been feeling really good about his new nickname. So much so that after knocking down a 3-pointer, he quickly jawed at Ingles.
Even if you’re not an expert at lip-reading, it’s easy to decipher what Paul George said to the Australian baller.
However, since no one really has the right to give himself a nickname (except the great Kobe Bryant), George received boos from the Jazz faithful, especially in Game 4. They hilariously started calling Paul George “Pushoff P” during an inbounds situation. It was a nickname that pretty much stuck the entire series. Ingles seemed to have fed off this energy. He locked in a very productive playoff game with 20 points, which included several 3-pointers.
George and Ingles got tangled up a bit towards the end of the first half. Ingles knocked down a 3-pointer right in George’s face. The Aussie got pumped up and was able to force Paul George into a backcourt violation.
To further irritate Paul George, Ingles tried to get the ball from him. For some reason, Ingles got slapped with a technical foul. This only hyped up the Jazz crowd further.
As noted, Ingles said that Paul George isn’t living rent-free in his head. He’s busy with other and much more important things like his twins. Besides, the Australian hasn’t really gone off just yet. In Game 1, he scored just eight points in 32 minutes.
Paul George, for his part, had a good night with 20 points and 10 rebounds.
"The whole narrative of Joe vs. Paul George is a little bit old in my mind. It's the Jazz vs Clippers, it was OKC vs Jazz … I don't read into the 1-on-1 stuff. 3 years ago is a long time. My twins were barely talking & now they're 5 and annoy the hell out of me."
– Joe Ingles pic.twitter.com/pCmXRMKoGR
— Tomer Azarly (@TomerAzarly) June 10, 2021
Paul George, amid his inconsistencies, is out to prove why he called himself “Playoff P.” Amid all the slander thrown at him, the Clippers star is still considered one of the best two-way players in the NBA. He will have off nights. But he is also capable of having very productive games that contribute to victories.
Ingles, for his part, is maybe just playing possum. We all know how the minds of these athletes work. He’s just being professional. For all we know, he’s on a secret mission to get rid of “Playoff P” for good by replacing him with “Pandemic P.”