Without Kawhi Leonard, Paul George pledged to carry the Clippers through Game 5

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Every person who lived, worked or played in the NBA bubble in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, last summer was affected by the experience — some rather profoundly. Between the isolation, the separation from friends and family, the inability to escape from the game — or even the Disney campus — the challenges presented by the bubble were unprecedented. And by and large, the teams that were the most successful in the playoffs were those that handled those challenges with the most aplomb.

This season was supposed to be more normal, with games back in home arenas and the ability to see family and friends. But there was nothing normal about this season, either, with its condensed schedule, constant COVID-19 testing, games lost due to health and safety protocols, and of course the rash of injuries to players — especially All-Star players in these playoffs. Just as it was last