Clippers’ Paul George says ‘I am again’ after scoring 37 in rout of Hawks

LOS ANGELES — Paul George drove to the rim, pushed from behind and still found a way to score with a foul.

"I returned!" George screamed before finishing the game with three points in the third quarter on Saturday night against Atlanta Hawks,

Many came to Staples Center in the hope of seeing Kawhi Leonard and George play their first game together as members LA ClippersBut since Leonard missed the second game in a row due to a left knee contusion, George staged a historic show in 20 minutes.

In the second Clipper game, George scored 37 points, the most in NBA history, having played less than 21 minutes to help the Clippers destroy the Hawks. 150-101The 49-point route was the largest victory edge in the history of the Clippers franchise.

“I got a new shoulder,” George said after the game. “I can’t say anything more about this: I have new shoulders. And they haven’t been so healthy for a long time. ”

George set a franchise record for most points for a player who made his home debut at Clippers, and most points for a player in his first two games as Clipper. In May, an All-Star swingman underwent an operation to restore a partially torn tendon of the right shoulder, and a month later, another operation was performed to partially rupture the left lip.

After returning on Thursday to play in New Orleans, George scored a total of 70 points in 44 minutes, taking 10 of 17 hits in each of his first two games and completing a total of nine of 16 three-pointer. He turned the perfect 21 of 21 from the free-throw line, absorbing his share of punches to the body and surgically corrected shoulders.

“It could be my first 50 (point game),” George said of what could have happened if he had played longer and hadn’t come back after operations on his shoulder. “This is what I felt, but … I'm a confident player. I was no longer sure that I said I was back. This is just a statement. I am just happy to return to this game. "

After spending the last couple of months working on the side and returning to 3 on 3 games with some of the younger Clippers, George thought he already had his own shooting rhythm. He showed how he fired four of his first seven shots and scored 15 points in the first quarter.

When he shot down his sixth three-pointer, 29-foot, to start the fourth quarter and push Clippers up by 33, George simply shrugged as Michael Jordan once did cool. He added a glare to the glass Montrezl harrell left until 9:58 left. George was baffled and spilled, and Clippers head coach Doc Rivers decided he wasn't going to risk anything.

“I mean, honestly, that the guy missed … what was it, did he miss 200 days in a row?” Rivers said of George, who had not played from his last playoff game from Oklahoma City April 23 to November 14 . “And in the two games he played, his effectiveness is incredible. This is more than just his gain, and this is a lot, but this is his passage, and his ability to play through contact was incredible.

“He uses our crime as if he has been playing the attack for five years,” Rivers added. “He did three or four things tonight, that you cannot know how to do this, that we are running if you did not do it. Even Lou (Williams) once said: "Wow, this is difficult."

George was not the only one to catch fire. Clippers stopped the slide from two games, making 53.8% of the field, including shooting 17 of 33 (51.5%) from behind the arc. Six Clippers scored in double digits, and the team was without Leonard Patrick Beverly (sore left leg) and Landry Chamet (high ankle sprain).

Rivers said the Clippers could bring Leonard back on Monday to play against George’s old team, Oklahoma City, and that Leonard’s injuries are more of an everyday problem, not a serious one.

George waited a long time to play with Leonard. But with Leonard watching, the Palmdale native had a “dream” home debut playing for the team he was rooting for.

“For me it is a dream when I can do it at home in front of family and friends,” said George. "There are so many faces that pull me."

George later added: “There are just a lot of familiar faces in the crowd. Honestly, this is probably the biggest thing that I am most pleased with is that I do this every night. ”

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