Making his home debut with the franchise last night, George scored 37 points in 20 minutes in a rout of the Hawks. Afterward, he credited a pair of offseason surgeries that fixed his damaged shoulders.
“I got [a] new shoulder,” George said. “I can’t say nothing else to that: I got new shoulders. And they haven’t been this healthy in a long time.”
George went under the knife in May shortly after the Thunder were eliminated from the playoffs, as doctors fixed a partially torn tendon in his right shoulder. A second operation a month later repaired a partial tear in his left labrum. The Clippers have brought him along slowly since acquiring him in a July trade that sealed Kawhi Leonard‘s decision to join the organization. George didn’t take the court until Thursday, but quickly showed he was worth the wait.
He scored 33 points at New Orleans, giving him 70 in a combined 44 minutes. That’s the highest total for any player in his first two games with the Clippers, and last night’s 37-point performance is the most by anyone making his Clippers home debut. George believes he could have done more if he weren’t on a minutes limit.
“It could have been my first 50(-point game),” he told reporters. “That’s just how I felt, but … I’m a confident player. It wasn’t more so a confidence (thing) by me saying I’m back. It’s just a statement. I’m just happy to be back to this game.”
George still hasn’t played alongside Leonard, who has turned in several impressive performances while his fellow star was recuperating. Leonard sat out the past two games with a left knee contusion, which coach Doc Rivers called a day-to-day issue. The league might get its first look at the new tandem tomorrow night when L.A. hosts Oklahoma City.