What This Guy Paul George Did In His Return To The Court
Exactly 8 months ago, we witnessed what has to go down as one of the most gruesome and horrific injuries in sports history. All-star small forward Paul George broke his leg chasing down a breakaway lay-up by James Harden (James, I hope you have some sleepless nights over this) in an intrasquad scrimmage with the United States National Team. With Indiana losing Lance Stephenson to free agency, the Pacers went from championship contender to fringe playoff team in the snap of a finger. Last Sunday night, the Pacers closed a chapter of despair and turned a new leaf with the return of their franchise player.
The Indiana Reaction
With barely 6 minutes left in the first quarter, “PG-13” (whom changed his number to 13 because of “branding purposes) returned having not played an NBA-officiated game since Game 6 of the 2014 Eastern Conference Finals when LeBron and “El Heat” knocked The Pacers out of contention. George’s come back put a decent smile on the Pacers’ organization’s face. The crowd erupted in Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indiana, as they all rose to their feet, hoisting “Welcome Back PG” signs in the air, anxious to see what their hometown basketball future holds. Any time in which PG had possession of the rock, the crowd cheered on as if it were the waning moments of a tied game and he’s the go-to-guy. But no, just a few mere dribbles and the crowds’ noise level seemed to get higher. At one point, a ref was brave enough to call a foul on their prized possession, and instantly he was roared at with boos.
George, nearly 25, did not disappoint dropping 13 points, with 2 rebounds and 2 assists in under 15 minutes granted 9 of those points were off 3 three-pointers. It was clear to see that George didn’t feel 100% sure of himself just yet. An even shakier moment is how timid he got when he broke away for a one-man fast break after a steal, and took off to the hoop in hopes for a crowd-pleasing moment; instead, he heard Luol Deng’s footsteps, tripped on his feet, and his potential dunk turned into a floppy missed layup. Quite embarrassing.
On the bright side, Paul George is getting his feet wet for next year when he’s closer to 100%, and his providing some inspiring motivation to help his team crawl into that last 8th seed with these last 5 or so games left. Welcome Back PG.