Paul George and Kawhi Leonard did their best to go blow for blow with the Brooklyn Nets' Big Three on Tuesday.
But during the Nets' 124-120 win over the visiting LA Clippers in a contest that lived up to the pregame hype, the Clippers' star duo could not keep up with Kevin Durant, James Harden and Kyrie Irving, especially at the foul line. Brooklyn's star trio combined to go 16-for-16 from the line.
Leonard was 8-for-9 at the stripe, but George went to the line only one time in 36 minutes.
"I mean, I think it was disrespectful that I had one free throw attempt today," said George, who registered 26 points and six assists. "I am going to leave it at that."
The Clippers went to the free throw line only 17 times as compared to the Nets' 26 trips.
George's only free throw attempt came when he drove and scored against former teammate Landry Shamet under the basket with 6 minutes, 58 seconds remaining in the game. George had to almost initiate contact before shedding off the smaller Shamet to get the whistle. George's three-point play gave the Clippers a 102-97 lead with 6:58 left.
But in a game with five perennial All-Stars on the floor, George felt he didn't receive respect from the officiating crew.
"The amount of plays I initiated or created contact," George argued, "and to get sent to the line [one] time ... "
The Nets rebounded from Sunday's 149-146 loss at the Washington Wizards by outlasting a Clippers team that had won 10 of its previous 11 games. Irving led all scorers with 39 points, Durant had 28 points and nine rebounds and Harden turned in a triple-double of 23 points, 14 assists and 11 rebounds.
"Like I said the other night, I took that personal just not being able to guard anyone," Irving said of losing to the Wizards, who got 41 points from Russell Westbrook and 37 from Bradley Beal.
Leonard scored 33 points to go with 5 rebounds, 5 assists and 4 steals in Tuesday's tilt.
While George couldn't get to the free throw line, he and the Clippers discovered in a 2½-minute stretch the explosiveness of the Nets' super trio:
Durant hit a 7-footer. Irving scored eight straight points. Harden then drilled a step-back 3 to complete a 13-0 blitz.
When asked what the Clippers learned from defending the Nets' Big Three that can help them in the long run, forward Nic Batum answered immediately.
"One thing for sure: That we miss Pat Bev tonight," Batum said of the injured Patrick Beverley, who is out with a knee injury. "We forget about that guy a lot, I think. It would be huge for us tonight. So, Pat Bev, come back, please."