Paul George said his shooting struggles in previous games involved a battle against anxiety and depression while confining himself inside the NBA bubble.
Before leading the Los Angeles Clippers to a 154-111 Game 5 victory over the Dallas Mavericks, George underwent his worst playoff shooting slump of his career.
"I underestimated mental health, honestly. I had anxiety. A little bit of depression. Just being locked in here. I just wasn't there. I checked out," George said in an article posted in ESPN.com after finishing with 35 points on 12-of-18 field goal shooting to go with 4 triples.
"Games 2, 3, 4, I wasn't there. I felt like I wasn't there. Shout-out to the people that were in my corner, that gave me words. They helped big time, help get me right, [get] me back in great spirits. I can't thank them enough."
His 35 points in Game 5 was more than the 34 he produced in Games 2, 3 and 4 combined.
George said he started to feel like in-game mode on the day of Game 5 after getting some help.
"I mean, I felt it just [at] the start [on Tuesday]," George said.
"Talks with a psychiatrist, our team psychiatrist. I mean, I just felt it. My energy, my spirit was changed. That's all it needed. That's all I needed. I came here, I knew what my job was. Left it all on that court. Ready to move forward."
Clippers coach Doc Rivers said they knew George wasn't himself.
He said team spoke at length at the coach's hotel room after Game 4, in which Luka Doncic beat the Clippers at the buzzer with a 3-pointer in overtime.
"This is not a normal environment, OK?" Rivers said. "It just isn't.
"PG and I sat in my room after the game. We just had a long talk, not all about basketball, really. Several players did it. Guys were knocking on his door."
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