Paul George said his nagging toe injury was becoming an "excuse" for subpar play. With a change in his thinking, George is on a tear despite the injury.
George scored 36 points Tuesday to lead the Los Angeles Clippers to a 126-115 win over the Indiana Pacers. The All-Star has scored at least 30 points in his last four games, while the Clippers have won six in a row and 12 of their last 14.
"The injury allowed me to kind of make an excuse for myself," George said. "But then when I put it in perspective, if I'm going to play, then why not just give it my all and put that to the side.
"That was the mindset I came in with, just to play through it, and if I'm going to play, don't let it limit me. I feel like I've had a breakthrough because of that mindset. I've been good."
NBA ESSENTIALS:SCORES | SCHEDULE | STANDINGS
“The injury allowed me to kinda make an excuse for myself. But then when I put it in perspective, if I’ma play, then why not just give it my all & put that to the side. That was the mindset I came in with, just to play through it.”
Paul George on playing through his injury. pic.twitter.com/X6t7NLkM3Z
George injured his toe in early February and missed seven games. He's played through soreness since returning and may have to manage the injury for rest of the season.
George has experienced less pain recently, and his production has spiked. He was named Western Conference Player of the Week for April 5-11 and is averaging 34.3 points over his last four games while shooting 55.2% from the field and 60% from 3-point range.
George has bumped his season scoring average up to 23.3 points per game with career-high shooting percentages of 47.9% overall and 44.1% from deep.
Paul George sparks the @LAClippers 6th win in a row! #ClipperNation
🔥 36 PTS, 7 REB, 8 AST
🔥 4th straight 30-point game pic.twitter.com/o8FhXo3XYQ
"It hasn't been flaring up, so that's been working," George said of playing through the injury. "And hopefully, at some point, it just goes away and it's an afterthought, nothing I'm worried about going forward."
Here are four more things to know today in the NBA:
Hawks on the rise
The Atlanta Hawks are playing some of their best basketball of the season and have quietly grabbed control of the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference. Without leading scorer Trae Young and six other injured players Tuesday, the shorthanded Hawks showed off their depth in a 107-103 win over the Toronto Raptors. Atlanta is now 16-5 under interim coach Nate McMillan and has won seven of eight to move a season-high five games over .500 at 30-25.
"We're going into every game thinking we can win no matter who goes out on the court," said Kevin Huerter.
Solomon Hill full court pass.
Kevin Huerter catch & tough [email protected] beat the halftime buzzer with 0.6 remaining! pic.twitter.com/3FRu7kfVPj
The emergence of Lu Dort has been a huge bright spot during this rebuilding season for the Oklahoma City Thunder. Dort has solidified himself as one of the top perimeter defenders in the NBA, while improving his offensive game to become a genuine two-way threat. He showed off the improvement Tuesday, pouring in a career-high 42 points in the Thunder's 106-96 loss to the Utah Jazz. Dort is the fifth undrafted player in the last 30 years to score 40 points in a game.
"I've just have been working on my game a lot," Dort said. "To have the opportunity every day to showcase my game and just to prove and show that I'm improving, it felt good tonight."
Career-high 42 PTS, 7 3PM for Lu [email protected] becomes the 5th undrafted player in the last 30 years to score 40+ in a game. pic.twitter.com/KCV8h4ffJG
Life without Murray
The Denver Nuggets return to the court Wednesday for the first time since Jamal Murray was diagnosed with a torn ACL in his left knee. Murray's absence is a significant loss for one of the hottest teams in the NBA, but Denver's championship hopes aren't totally dashed. As long as Nikola Jokic continues to play at an MVP level, the Nuggets remain a threat to make noise in the playoffs. In the short-term, the biggest question is how they recover from the emotional gut-punch of losing a star to a brutal injury.
ROUNDTABLE: How does Murray's injury affect Nuggets' championship hopes?
We know you’ll come back stronger. pic.twitter.com/0sEyJAQO0m
Game of the night: Nets at Sixers
The matchup might lack some of its expected star power, but a meeting of the top two teams in the Eastern Conference should still be appointment viewing Wednesday. Brooklyn and Philadelphia are tied atop the East at 37-17, and the winner will claim the season tiebreaker after they split their first two games. James Harden is out for the Nets, and Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant are both questionable.
Follow Matt Eppers on Twitter @meppers_.
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