Paul George is back.
Not that he really went all that far away, the man did finish third in MVP voting last season, but he faded at the end of that campaign due to shoulder pain, which led to both shoulders being operated on during the offseason. That delayed his entry into the 2019-20 NBA season by a few weeks.
He has come back looking smooth: He scored 37 points in 20 minutes against Atlanta, the most points scored in fewer than 21 minutes played in NBA history. PG13 has scored 70 points in 44 minutes across the two games with an 80.9 true shooting percentage, hitting 56.3 percent from three, and he scored the most points in a Clippers home debut (37).
How is he doing it?
“I got new shoulder. I can’t say nothing else to that, I got new shoulders. And they haven’t been this healthy in a long time.”
George has looked fluid on the court, playing great defense and clearly just having fun out there.
The Clippers have yet to play George and Kawhi Leonard at the same time because pain in Leonard’s knee has kept him in street clothes the past two games.
The Clippers have George on a minutes limit right now and are letting Leonard have all the time off he wants (George will ultimately get some load management nights, too). While that’s led to pushback from some fans — and LeBron James, trying to score some PR points on the other team in town — the Clippers shrug it off. They don’t have their sites set on November wins, they are targeting April, May, and they hope June.
George already looks in peak playoff form.