The Philadelphia 76ers welcomed the Los Angeles Clippers to the City of Brotherly Love on Friday night for the second and final meeting between the two teams this regular season. Unfortunately, the game with a lot of interest beforehand turned out to be slightly less interesting, considering who sat on each side.
The Sixers were without two starters in Tobias Harris and Seth Curry and missing a key member off the bench in Dwight Howard. On the other side, the Clippers didn't have Patrick Beverly and Serge Ibaka along with the team's most notable star, Kawhi Leonard.
Heading into the matchup, the Clippers were almost without Paul George as well. As the veteran felt sick over the last couple of days and even missed LA's morning shootaround on Friday, Clippers head coach Ty Lue mentioned that George was considered a game-time decision before the matchup.
George ended up getting cleared to play on Friday and started for the Clippers. As expected, he led Los Angeles in scoring as he totaled for a game-high of 37 points in 39 minutes of action. Although George had a solid outing, the Clippers couldn't get the job done in Philly on Friday night.
By the end of the game, the Sixers came away with a 106-103 victory over the Clippers. To no surprise, the Sixers' half-court defense stood out during the entire matchup, especially down the stretch. Following the game, Sixers head coach Doc Rivers and several members of the 76ers applauded their defensive effort when it mattered the most.
On the other side of the arena, Clippers star Paul George saw it differently. "They got away with a lot of stuff," George said. "I won’t even get into that. Y'all know what’s going on, next question.” A few moments later, George would get into it and clarified his beliefs while commenting on Philly's defense down the stretch.
“They were just allowed to play hands-on -- they were allowed to reach," he explained. "It wasn’t clean. Give them credit for the pressure and their defensive rotations and stuff like that, but a lot of it wasn’t clean. There were some turnovers on our behalf where we were shooting ourselves in the foot. Some of those turnovers I’ll take ownership of because I could’ve made better plays, but I can’t fully give them all of the acknowledgment on that because some of it wasn’t clean.”
Friday night wouldn't be the first time George complained about a lack of calls towards the Sixers while playing in Philly. Last season, when the Clippers paid a visit to the Sixers and took on a 110-103 loss, George criticized the officiating after the game.
"There was some home-court cooking tonight, to say the least," George said last February. "I mean, it was 19 to 11. You all figure out what those numbers are. It was 19 to 11." George's comments last season resulted in a $35,000 fine. He didn't directly criticize the referees this time around for favoring the Sixers. Still, it's clear the Clippers star had intentions of insinuating the Sixers won because of a lack of calls towards them.