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Amid long stares in the locker room, the Clippers remained optimistic that they could play the long game and become the team they want to be. “I’ve got confidence, that we’ve done it before, very similar locker room over my time here last three years, so I got confidence we can do it, we’ve just got to all get healthy and get on the same page and playing at the same time,” point guard Reggie Jackson said. “It’s going to take some reps but hopefully we can all get healthy here soon and start actually logging minutes together to put it together.” Said George: “We’re not that far off.”
And after the Clippers committed a five-second inbounds violation while trailing by just one with seven seconds left — a turnover that drew a disbelieving reaction from Lue — George, after 33 minutes, reentered with five seconds left, the Clippers down 113-111, for one play. It was intended to clear out one side of the court and allow George to take a nearly full-court inbounds pass and make a play. George had his opening but the long pass sailed out of bounds, just out of reach, a 116-111 loss going with it. George felt as though he could finish the game and Leonard also wanted to be on the floor to start overtime, not sandwiched into tight courtside seats where they were joined by point guard Reggie Jackson, who also came out of the game after regulation after making five of his 20 shots in 31 minutes. “You understand the medical side of it where this is my second game back from a hamstring injury and we got another one tomorrow night so I get it, it’s just tough, it’s tough,” George said. “The competitive side takes over and I want to compete and we got ourselves in a tough finish. As one of the leaders, I want to be out there and help close the game out.”