Paul George returns as Clippers stun Jazz with another big comeback win – Orange County Register

LOS ANGELES — With out – and now with! – Paul George, these Clippers are able to big ol’ comebacks, rallying from exactly 25 factors down for the second time this season (and from at the least 25 factors down for the third time and from 24 or extra behind for the fourth time).

In his first sport again from a 43-game layoff, George orchestrated a second-half surge that powered the Clippers previous the Utah Jazz, 121-115, on Tuesday night time earlier than a sellout crowd of 19,068 followers who left Area buzzing.

After the Jazz constructed a 76-51 lead with 8:07 left within the third quarter, the Clippers outscored their visitors 70-39 – a run paying homage to the 75-40 scoring splurge with which they closed Recreation 6 of their second-round playoff collection in opposition to Utah final 12 months. The Clippers additionally rallied from a 25-point deficit in that sport, in what was then known as Staples Heart to earn their first Western Convention finals berth.

On Tuesday, they erased all of that 25-point buffer by the three:24 mark of the fourth quarter on Isaiah Hartenstein’s 7-footer that put the Clippers forward 110-109.

To this comeback, George performed 31 minutes – and contributed 34 factors (26 within the second half) on 10-for-20 capturing, together with a 6-for-9 mark from 3-point vary and an 8-for-11 effort from the free-throw line – a complete that included the layup with 1:37 to play that put the Clippers forward, 114-113.

Then, after Rudy Gobert’s bucket, Luke Kennard wound up and buried a 3-pointer to provide the Clippers a 117-115 lead.

The Clippers bought a few stops and, with 14.9 seconds left, Reggie Jackson – with the gang chanting his identify, as has change into custom – stepped to the free-throw line and knocked down each foul pictures to increase the result in 119-115  and ship peanut butter and jelly snacks flying all through the world in accordance with the Clippers’ promotion on his behalf.

When Donovan Mitchell tried to name a timeout – one the Jazz didn’t have – it despatched Jackson again to the road for the technical free throw that made it 120-115. George added yet another free throw – and 6 assists and 4 steals – and the Clippers’ welcome again PG get together was full.

The Clippers, who outscored Utah 34-12 to finish the sport, snapped a five-game shedding streak and improved to 36-39. Utah dropped to 45-31.

If anybody had forgotten, there’s a lot to like about George’s sport.

Amir Coffey’s favourite factor about George’s elegant skillset: “How smooth he is. His pace is crazy. He doesn’t let anybody speed him up and his ballhandling for his size.”

For Ivica Zubac, it’s the variability: “Just his talent. He’s one of the most talented players ever. His talent for the game of basketball, it’s insane. Like, there’s nothing he can’t do out there.”

So, yeah, Coach Tyronn Lue mentioned, “when he’s making those 3s – when he’s making seven, eight 3s, and we’re tough to beat.”

Or, on the opposite finish, Lue mentioned, “just taking the challenge every single night of guarding the best player, I like that a lot about him.”

However what the Clippers’ coach digs most concerning the seven-time All-Star, he mentioned, was George making himself out there.

“Just the fact that even when he’s injured, he’s always trying to come back and play,” Lue mentioned earlier than tipoff Tuesday, when George made his 2022 debut, sashaying by way of defenders, streaking to the basket, sinking 3-pointers and free throws, stripping opposing ball handlers.

His legs and left arm wrapped in white leggings and a sleeve, George’s proper arm – the one on which he’d suffered a torn ulnar collateral ligament – was freed from something however tattooed references to L.A. and his hometown Palmdale.

Simply his presence, Lue mentioned, “means a lot. With seven games left in the season, he could very easily have just called it quits, but he wants to play. That’s huge.”

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