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HomeSportsPaul George 'OK' after exiting early in Clippers' win over Spurs

Paul George ‘OK’ after exiting early in Clippers’ win over Spurs

There had been moments in Saturday’s opening half when the Clippers’ offense seemed nothing prefer it had all season.

Only minutes later did an all-too-familiar sight arrive: a key contributor leaving the court docket harm.

Soreness in his proper knee sidelined All-Star wing Paul George throughout the second half of his crew’s eventual runaway 119-97 victory in opposition to San Antonio at Crypto.com Arena to enhance to 10-7. The departure minimize quick what had been a superlative begin, his 21 factors in quarter-hour tied for his second-highest scoring output in a half this season, trailing solely George’s 24-point first half in opposition to Utah earlier this month.

George watched the second half from the sideline along with his proper leg wrapped in a black sleeve, becoming a member of capturing guard Luke Kennard, who has missed the previous two video games with a strained proper calf, on the crew’s harm report. If George was involved about his knee, it was not sufficient to maintain him from lobbing T-shirts into the gang throughout a break within the fourth quarter.

“I’m OK,” George informed Steve Ballmer on his method to the locker room after the win, smiling and nodding after hugging the crew’s proprietor. Coach Tyronn Lue additionally described George as effective.

Still, his unplanned absence forged a shadow over what in any other case certified, in Lue’s estimation, because the crew’s finest recreation — a efficiency by which it forged apart its sample of sluggish begins for an 18-point first-quarter lead, tying for its season’s most lopsided quarter. George was accountable for 18 factors in 1 / 4 when the Clippers, whose offense has ranked among the many league’s backside third nearly all season, erupted for 40.

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Lue requested his gamers to make fast selections on offense earlier than tipoff, and after they did that, they made fast work of the Spurs.

“This is the blueprint,” Lue stated.

One of the NBA’s most rare passing groups instantly turned an equal-opportunity assault whereas producing arguably its most spectacular possession of the season. Backup level guard John Wall introduced the ball round his again whereas driving into the paint in transition within the first quarter earlier than passing to Nicolas Batum, who whipped the ball to his left across the three-point arc to Reggie Jackson on the wing, the place he moved the ball but once more to Norman Powell within the nook for an open three-pointer.

Wall dished 9 assists in solely his first six minutes. He completed with 15 assists to grow to be the primary Clipper to file at the least 15 assists since Chris Paul in 2017 and becoming a member of solely Gary Grant, in 1991, and Pooh Richardson, in 1997, to file at the least that many whereas coming off the bench.

Wall can stay too keen at instances to lull his defender with a dribble whereas teammates watch, his perception in his jumper resulting in a two-of-eight evening for 5 factors — however Wall was additionally sensational organising others, his assists resulting in 40 factors. His first-quarter alley-oop lob simply past the attain of a defender to fellow guard Reggie Jackson featured a level of problem so excessive it could impress even a figure-skating decide. Jackson caught the go and scored along with his personal magician’s spark off the backboard.

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“When John Wall is playing like that we’re a tough team to beat,” Lue stated.

The encouraging indicators didn’t cease there, sufficient that the recurrence of yet one more up-and-down second quarter — the Clippers personal the NBA’s worst second-quarter web score, the distinction between factors scored and given up per 100 possessions — was rapidly forgotten because the rout continued. The Clippers’ 21 three-pointers was a season excessive.

Lue emptied his bench with eight minutes remaining within the fourth quarter.

The Clippers obtained excellent news merely by the sight of Kawhi Leonard, who reported to Lue that his proper knee felt “good” following his return to the court docket Thursday after 12 video games sidelined, taking part in for a second consecutive recreation. Then he completed with 22 minutes and scored 11 factors, making 5 of his eight photographs.

And Powell, a 28% three-point shooter this season, made 5 of seven photographs past the arc to complete with a team-high 26 factors off the bench, his seventh recreation scoring in double figures in his final 9 video games — every subsequent recreation placing his struggle-filled begin to the season additional into what he and the crew hopes is the rear view.

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