Paul George Drops 33 in Clippers Debut as LA Falls to Pelicans 132-127

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorNovember 15, 2019

NEW ORLEANS, LA - NOVEMBER 14: Paul George #13 of the LA Clippers drives to the basket against the New Orleans Pelicans on November 14, 2019 at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, Louisiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Layne Murdoch Jr./NBAE via Getty Images)
Layne Murdoch Jr./Getty Images

The New Orleans Pelicans spoiled Paul George's Los Angeles Clippers debut with a 132-127 home win on Thursday at Smoothie King Center.

George made his first appearance for the Clips after he missed the first 11 games while recovering from shoulder surgeries. Los Angeles acquired the six-time All-Star in a trade with the Oklahoma City Thunder in July.

The 29-year-old was fantastic in his first Clippers game, dropping 33 points on 10-of-17 shooting and grabbing nine rebounds in just 24 minutes.

But the Pelicans made 18 of 35 three-pointers en route to producing their highest point total of the season. Jrue Holiday led the way with 36 points, seven assists and six steals, and Derrick Favors posted 20 points and 20 boards. Led by Favors, the Pels dominated the glass with a 52-37 rebounding differential.

The 3-8 Pels won despite missing leading scorer Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball and Josh Hart. They have won two of their last three.

The 7-5 Clippers were without Kawhi Leonard (load management) and Patrick Beverley (sore left calf). They have dropped two straight.


Notable Performances

Clippers F Paul George: 33 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists

Clippers G Lou Williams: 31 points, 9 assists

Clippers G Rodney McGruder: 20 points

Clippers F/C Montrezl Harrell: 18 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists

Pelicans G Jrue Holiday: 36 points, 7 assists, 6 steals

Pelicans F Derrick Favors: 20 points, 20 rebounds

Pelicans G Frank Jackson: 23 points, 5 rebounds

Pelicans G JJ Redick: 19 points


Paul George Dominates in Clippers Debut

Thirty-three points on 10-of-17 shooting (10-of-10 from the free-throw line) is an impressive performance for any NBA player, but Paul George announced his return to action by doing that in just 24 minutes.

George wasted no time in his first 2019-20 appearance, scoring 10 points in his first six minutes and showing zero signs of rust after missing the first three-plus weeks of the regular season.

The forward did miss a bit of court action when he found himself in foul trouble, but that didn't matter as he did whatever he wanted on the offensive end.

George was aggressive and smooth, driving to the lane with ease and doing the dirty work in the paint to get buckets:

LA Clippers @LAClippers

The real deal. @Yg_Trece dropped 10 points in his first 6 minutes of action. https://t.co/QiDE2W35Lm

The offense around George certainly didn't lack any chemistry with its new addition, either, as evidenced by this sequence:

LA Clippers @LAClippers

All five touch the ball? That a very, very solid play. 📺 @FoxSportsWest https://t.co/xwAq5ExPHQ

The team's defensive effort left a lot to be desired against the shorthanded Pels, although the Clippers had just finished chasing around leading NBA scorer James Harden for 44 minutes in Houston the night before. Sans Kawhi Leonard and Patrick Beverley, they deserve a one-day pass.

But a Clippers team featuring two defensive stalwarts in George and Leonard shouldn't have much issue on that end when the two finally play together. On the other end, Jovan Buha of The Athletic offered a few predictions based on his first regular-season look at George in a Clippers uniform:

Jovan Buha @jovanbuha

With what we've seen this game, it wouldn't surprise me if PG is their leading scorer. Passing/playmaking favors Kawhi. The defensive end is a toss-up, but Kawhi's been better on that end to start this season than he was last season. https://t.co/8WuYqGqJ7i

Jovan Buha @jovanbuha

With the addition of Paul George, the Clippers will likely lead the league in FTAs (they're currently third behind Houston and Minnesota). He's already attempted five FTs in eight minutes.

And Andrew Greif of the Los Angeles Times praised George's early rhythm:

Andrew Greif @AndrewGreif

I'm not really sure what we'll eventually take from this game, given the absences of Beverley and Kawhi, the weird lineups they caused, and the fact it's a back-to-back. But the rhythm Paul George already seems to have feels notable. He's barely practiced, yet has 23 in 16 min.

We'll see how George and Leonard look together on the court shortly, but early returns suggest the Clippers' offseason acquisitions of the duo will be a resounding success.


What's Next?

Both teams will play next on Saturday. The Clippers will host the Atlanta Hawks at 10:30 p.m. ET, and the Pelicans will visit the Miami Heat on Saturday at 8 p.m.


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