Shaquille O’Neal believes in Clippers’ Championship chances if  “Paul George and James Harden don’t disappear”

This season, the Clippers are one of the scariest teams in the league driven by impeccable performances from their star guard, Paul George, who on multiple occasions has led the team from the front when they are in desperate situations.

Apart from George, the acquisition of superstar James Harden has significantly led to effortless dominance, a move that initially haunted the team. Now, with a star-studded lineup, consisting of the likes of George, Harden, Kawhi, and Russell Westbrook, the Clippers are finally aiming to put an end to their historic title drought, with multiple legends fancying their chances for a championship.

Shaq points out Paul George, James Harden’s disappearing tendency

It is only right to shower praises on the Clippers for the mesmerizing season they’ve had so far, and basketball legend Shaquille O’Neal heaped high praises on the team but did so while raising a key cause of concern.

Paul George
Shaq commended the duo of Harden and Paul George via USA Today Sports

The legend who was and is an ardent Lakers fan, mainly because of his history with the team, established that the Clippers’ chances for the NBA championship were looking good with their current roster’s form. Shaq also went on to applaud James Harden and Paul George, saying that both players are amazing and that the Clippers have a “great shot” at winning the title if both the stars manage to stay healthy while playing at a high level at the same time.

Shaq said, “When he’s (James Harden) healthy, him healthy, PG playing at a high level, throughout the playoffs, James playing at a high level, throughout the playoffs, they (Clippers) have a great shot.”

Right after, Shaq did not hesitate to highlight a concern regarding both the players. The former Lakers legend suggested that the duo had a habit of disappearing and abandoning the team when their team direly needed their lucrative services.

Shaq’s criticism comes after multiple occurrences where the Clippers assert their dominance, only to fumble and stumble, losing all momentum, which eventually leads to a premature exit of the team from the NBA Playoffs; an occurrence that has been present over the last few years for the team.

James Harden
Harden was criticized by Sixers’ fans for his lack of support to Embiid via Associated Press

Shaq said, “Paul George and James Harden have a tendency of disappearing. If they don’t disappear, they have a shot of winning a Championship”

In the NBA Playoffs last season, 76ers fans expressed their deep frustration with then-Sixers player James Harden’s lack of support for superstar Joel Embiid. Harden eventually demanded a trade and found his way to the Clippers, a team he claims to be his ‘home’. Ever since, Harden has been vital to the team’s success and has performed on a very consistent basis, complementing the offensive department of Paul George and Kawhi Leonard with his efficient shooting and playmaking.

Shaq wants a more assertive Paul George

This is not the first time the NBA legend has been critical of Clippers superstar Paul George. Previously, O’Neal urged George to have a more aggressive mindset when it came to winning as opposed to the player’s much more modest approach to the team’s success. The incident occurred after the Clippers beat the Thunder, last week, following George’s season-high 38 points.

Paul George
Shaq was critical of George’s approach to success via Getty Images

During the post-game interview, the NBA legend and ‘NBA on TNT’ host asked the eight-time All-Star about the Clippers’ chances this season to which the player replied with much humility that the Clippers were in control of their destiny.

George answered, “I think we [are] in the driver’s seat. We control our destiny. We can go as far as we want to go. I think we committed to one another which is the most important thing for this team.”

However, Shaq was quite unimpressed with the player’s approach to the question. Criticizing the lack of intent in PG, Shaq said, “I would’ve liked him to say, ‘We have all the ingredients to win a championship’”. While Shaq was looking for a raw, aggressive approach, George responded with an approach that lacked the energy, Shaq was looking for.

Paul George
Shaq demanded an aggressive approach from the superstar via Getty Images

Regardless, there is no doubt to the fact that the Clippers are one of the best teams in the league right now and are in hot form, losing only 2 games in their last 10 fixtures.

What are your thoughts and opinions on the Clippers’ success this season? Do you think Shaq is right in calling out James Harden and Paul George? We are eager to know your thoughts and opinions on the Clippers’ form this season, so feel free to comment below.

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