Paul George had his best game of the season: 35 points, five rebounds, four assists, five steals, and two blocks Wednesday night in New York.
Yes, he has had other impressive stat- lines this season. He had reached 30+ points twice before last night’s game in New York. But it wasn’t the final point tally that made Paul’s night so impressive. It was WHEN he was getting his points.
The NBA is full of players who can score. Many of them are first half performers. Some of them can get buckets in the first three quarters. But only a select few are clutch enough to rise to the occasion in during tense moments in the fourth quarter, crunch time, “Winning Time”, where superstars are separated from all-stars.
Paul George is undoubtedly a superstar in training, and took another promising step last night with 21 points, three steals, and two rebounds AFTER the third quarter. When the game was on the line, Paul had the intestinal fortitude to deliver. Not to mention the energy to deliver, despite guarding Carmelo Anthony, who is one of the toughest covers in the NBA. Carmelo finished with 30 points in the game…but only had 12 in the fourth quarter in overtime.
As Paul’s confidence continues to grow, his MVP candidacy grows right along with it. He’s not surprised to see his shots go down in tight ball games. He expects them to. After hitting another step-back jumper to give him 35 points, and his team a six point lead with one minute to go, ESPN announcer Doug Collins said: “He’s got that swagger too….he knows he’s good. That’s a big part of being great; you gotta KNOW IT.”
Yup. Paul knows…