The anticipated first game with George and Kawhi Leonard in the lineup together didn’t happen when Leonard sat out with a left knee contusion.
But the Clippers didn’t need both of their new superstars on a night when George tied his career high with six 3-pointers and made all 11 of his free throws in the team’s biggest blowout of the young season.
George was clearly having fun in the fourth when he stole the ball, dribbled down and tossed it off the glass, setting up Montrezl Harrell for a two-handed dunk that ignited the crowd and pushed the Clippers’ lead to 36 points.
George sat down for good with 9:58 remaining in the game, having done all his damage playing 20 minutes.
Two nights after scoring 33 in his debut at New Orleans, George had it going from the start. He scored 15 of the Clippers’ first 22 points in a six-minute span. They led by 17 and shot 59 percent in the opening quarter.
George is the first player in franchise history to score 30-plus points in his first two games with the team.
The Hawks scored 11 straight points to close within four early in the second quarter, the closest they would come the rest of the game. The Clippers answered with an 18-6 run, fueled by George’s nine points, to go back up by 17 again.
George had 25 points at halftime when the Clippers led 74-62, shooting 52% and making all 16 of their free throws.
Leonard also sat out on Thursday when George made his Clippers debut in a loss to the Pelicans.
George missed the season’s first 11 games while completing rehab from offseason shoulder surgery.
“I would love them to play every game and be out there,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said before the game. “We knew early on this would be a tough go.”
Trae Young had 20 points for the Hawks, who dropped their second in a row. They trailed by 52 points in the fourth.
The Clippers dominated in nearly every category, with their bench outscoring the Hawks’ reserves 81-35. Los Angeles made 17 3-pointers and hit 33 of 35 free throws.