With Joe Ingles facing Paul George in the playoffs again, is one of the NBA’s most entertaining ‘beefs’ about to return?
Here is a rundown of the history between Utah’s Joe Ingles and Los Angeles’ Paul George, which began in 2018.
One of the highlights during the Utah Jazz’s 4-2 first round series win over the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2018 was the “beef” between Paul George, then of the Thunder, and the Jazz’s Joe Ingles.
With the Los Angeles Clippers in town to start the second-round series against the Jazz on Tuesday, will the entertaining squabble continue between George and Ingles?
Here is a rundown of the history between the two.
- During a regular season game in the 2017-2018 season, George shoved Ingles 11 seconds into the contest.
- Before the playoff series started, George elicited groans from Jazz fans by nicknaming himself “Playoff P.” Answering a question about how he would guard Donovan Mitchell, George replied, “Y’all ain’t met Playoff P yet, huh?”
- In Game 1 of the series in Oklahoma City, Ingles and George went back-and-forth exchanging words from the start, and George had some words to say to Ingles after hitting a 3-pointer early. George scored 36 points as the Thunder beat the Jazz 107-99.
- In Game 3, after splitting the series in Oklahoma City 1-1, Utah took a 2-1 lead with a 115-102 win at home. Though the game would be remembered most for Ricky Rubio’s 26-point triple-double, Ingles scored 21 points and made five 3-pointers, and then the rivalry really started to pick up in Game 4.
- After giving himself the “Playoff P” nickname, George was destined to hear from Jazz fans all series, and they brought it. Up 2-1, the Jazz played Game 4 in front of a raucous sellout crowd at Vivint Arena, and it is when Ingles started to really get under George’s skin.
Early in the first quarter, Ingles was guarding George as he prepared to inbound the ball. George shoved Ingles, earning a technical foul. Jazz fans started a “Pushoff P” chant that would be repeated many times throughout the rest of the series.
Near halftime, Ingles nailed a triple and stared down George. Ingles hit another 3-pointer with 27 seconds left in the half and got right in George’s face, guarding him tight, then forced a backcourt violation by George. After the whistle, Ingles tried to grab the ball from George, earning a technical foul.
“He’s a really good player and I’ve got my work cut out for me each night defending him. I’m not going to back down. I’m going to play hard and compete,” Ingles said.
Tensions ran high in that Game 4, with lots of skirmishes between the two teams.
George scored 32 points, Ingles scored 20 and the Jazz won 113-96 to take control of the series, 3-1.
Utah lost Game 5, but finished the series with a 96-91 win in Game 6. George only had five points and was 2-for-16 in the elimination game. Ingles had 12 points and five assists.
With the Clippers this year in the playoffs, George averaged nearly 24 points as Los Angeles rallied from a 3-2 deficit to beat Dallas 4-3 in the first round. George scored at least 20 points in each of the seven games, a needed playoff performance after being nicknamed “Pandemic P” after going just 2-for-11 from the field for 10 points in a Game 7 loss to the Denver Nuggets as the Clippers blew a 3-1 lead in the 2020 playoffs.
Meanwhile, Ingles has yet to make his mark on the 2021 playoffs. Coming off the bench, he had 11 and 14 points in Games 1 and 2 of the Jazz’s series against the Memphis Grizzlies, but scored just three points in Game 3, two in Game 4 and zero in Game 5.
While no notable incidents between the two players have happened since the 2018 playoffs, could the heat of the postseason rekindle the rivalry? It will depend on how often Ingles is on the court with George.
In Utah’s three matchups against Los Angeles this season, Mitchell has defended George the most, guarding him for 17 possessions, per NBA tracking data. Bojan Bogdanovic, Jordan Clarkson and Royce O’Neale have guarded George for 14 possessions each. Mike Conley guarded him for 11 possessions and Ingles has guarded George for 10.
Ingles came off the bench during the series against Memphis, but with point guard Mike Conley out for Game 1 against the Clippers with a right hamstring strain, Ingles could be inserted into the starting lineup and possibly be matched up against George more.
If Ingles is on the court with George, he will no doubt try to get into his head. The question will be how often the two will be matched up against one another.