The LA Clippers are the hottest team in basketball right now and Paul George is a BIG reason why.
Fresh off being named Western Conference Player of the Week, George carried that momentum into the game against his former team, the Indiana Pacers, pouring in 36 points, eight assists, seven rebounds and two steals in a 126-115 win - their sixth in a row.
George has now scored 30+ points in four straight games, averaging 34.3 points per game on 55 percent shooting during that stretch, with the Clippers now sitting at 38-18 on the season, good for third in the Western Conference.
Paul George last 4 games:- StatMuse (@statmuse) April 14, 2021
36 PTS, 7 REB, 8 AST, 4 3PT
32 PTS, 3 REB, 9 AST, 1 3PT
33 PTS, 7 REB, 3 AST, 7 3PT
36 PTS, 3 REB, 5 AST, 6 3PT
He is shooting 55/60/100% in that span. pic.twitter.com/qLAzbhKbxQ
Ahead of the season, George vowed to return to his MVP-level self and with just 16 games to go in the regular season, he's making good on that promise, with his scoring, playmaking and confidence riding high.
He's been aggressive attacking the basket and drawing contact, making opponents pay at the free-throw line, going 23-of-23 during his four-game run.
Following the win over the Pacers in his TNT post-game interview, George credited his work ethic for his turnaround this season, recalling conversations with Dwyane Wade in the off-season.
"D-Wade knows," George said. "We talked about it over the summer...even in year 11 I'm still a student of the game."
While the criticism of George has been levelled at his playoff performances, Wade believes his recent play is just the first step in making a post-season run with the Clippers.
"You can't get to the playoffs until you get through the regular season," Wade said of George's critics.
PAUL GEORGE, OH MY! 😱 pic.twitter.com/u2ctTqgQsF- NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) April 14, 2021
Under new head coach Ty Lue, the Clippers have forged a strong identity led by George and Kawhi Leonard, but it's been the performances of their role players that have given balance to their offence with the likes of Luke Kennard (46.7 percent), Reggie Jackson (42.9%), Nic Batum (42.3%) Marcus Morris (46.9%), Patrick Beverley (41.6%) all shooting the ball at a ridiculous rate from beyond the arc.
The Clippers are leading the league in 3-point percentage, knocking down 42.1 percent of their triples and are fifth in 3-point makes at 14.5 per game. For a team designed to hang their hat on defence, their lights-out shooting has propelled them to a league-leading offensive rating of 117.6.
"I love it," George said last week regarding the Clippers' 3-point shooting.
"I've been shooting the three ball well, especially off-the-dribble. So I will be more aggressive, to look to score and take more threes, look for more opportunities to get threes. The gift about this team, as Rondo stated, is that we have so many guys who shoot it well. The floor is always spaced, and we have a lot of space to operate. So, I'm definitely with the 'more threes' campaign."
Timing is everything in the NBA and right now the Clippers are on course to make their presence felt in the post-season, especially if George has got his swagger back.
The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA or its clubs.