Amid the Clippers’ collapse last season, Paul George heard it from opponents, former players and even teammates.

The animosity toward George hasn’t stopped this season.

Suns star Devin Booker jawed with George during L.A.’s win over Phoenix yesterday.

Fox Sports West:

George:

I had a tough year last year. People think it’s sweet, man. People think it’s sweet because I was down. I didn’t hear none of this my 10 years in the league, but last year – people living on that last year. And I’ve got to answer that. I’ve got to answer to that. I’ve got to be ready for that. And I’m ready to compete. I’m back.

In many ways, it’s incredible it has become open season George. He isn’t that far removed from being the most sympathetic character in basketball following his devastating injury with Team USA. He also admitted he was in a dark place in the bubble, which – in this time of heightened sensitivity to mental-health issues – should have elicited more understanding.

But it’s easy to kick someone when he’s down. George struggled in the playoffs, and the Clippers flamed out early. George has continued to say grating things in the aftermath.

George and the Clippers are good enough to get the last laugh. That doesn’t mean they will. But they’re capable. They just must better withstand the pressures of an NBA season.

The way they buckled last year, they – especially George – will get challenged more this year.

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