Paul George was already on the Kia MVP desk. On Thursday, he blatantly and unapologetically moved his chair nearer to that desk’s head.
The Thunder star additionally earned some candy revenge in OKC’s epic 148-147 double-OT win over Utah, which was absolutely hoping to see the George that underwhelmed in OKC’s Four-2 first-round loss to the Jazz final yr.
That man is gone, changed by the true alpha star many thought George might be however not essentially would be. This yr’s version has no points guarding Donovan Mitchell (14-for-35 FG), nor qualms about turning a make right into a message, time beyond regulation fatigue be damned.
Most vital of all, George took — and made — the massive shot after years of lacking them in Indiana. And what shot is greater or extra unmakeable than a game-winning floater over reigning Kia Defensive Participant of the 12 months Rudy Gobert?
Paul George lofts a floater over Rudy Gobert for the win.
That is a second, one which polished off a 50-minute, 45-point, zero-turnover evening for the MVP candidate that may not be ignored or defined away.
George has successfully develop into what Thunder followers feared they’d misplaced ceaselessly when Kevin Durant left in 2016: a do-it-all ahead that may co-exist with Russell Westbrook and dominate on each ends. The 2 mixed for 88 factors, simply the fifth time within the final 22 years two teammates have every scored 40-plus. And although each had been All-Stars final yr, this yr’s version feels like extra of a risk come Might.
Particularly if George retains enjoying like an MVP.
The Raptor’s return
Shorter contracts and the grass-is-greener period make franchise icons a uncommon prevalence. By yr seven or eight, an All-Star expertise is able to transfer on.
Not DeMar DeRozan. The nine-year Raptor had no intention of leaving the one staff he’d ever identified. Solely the provision of Kawhi Leonard, a two-time Kia Defensive Participant of the 12 months, saved that feeling from being mutual.
On Thursday evening, DeRozan the Spur returned to Scotiabank Enviornment for the primary time since he was shockingly dealt final summer season. His former staff drowned him with the sort of tribute and ovation becoming for the most effective Raptor in franchise historical past.
The Toronto Raptors thank DeMar DeRozan for every little thing he did throughout his time with the staff with an unbelievable tribute video and it is adopted up by an prolonged standing ovation. pic.twitter.com/P7SpSlaoJy
— TSN (@TSN_Sports) February 23, 2019
And although he did not get the win, DeRozan reminded everybody how he earned him 4 All-Star picks and a pair of All-NBA honors. The veteran swingman scored 23 factors on simply 12 photographs (all of them contained in the arc). Raptors followers gladly clapped for his or her “opponent” when he pulled off his signature 360-degree assault on the rim:
DeRozan greater than deserved Toronto’s heat welcome. He is their longest-tenured participant, all-time scoring chief, and had moments in a Raptors uniform. Guys like which are the blocks on which a franchise’s historical past is constructed.
Thon makes it
A change of surroundings hasn’t seen Thon Maker precisely erupt in Detroit, however the former 10th total decide did get pleasure from his first signature second together with his new staff. The seven-foot large man discovered himself catching a move close to the proper nook with lower than 20 seconds remaining in regulation. Maker pump-faked, launched and made the game-winning Three-pointer to provide the Pistons a 125-122 win at Atlanta.
Thon Maker drills the three to provide Detroit the win at Atlanta.
And the sport ball goes to…
The Pistons’ victory was at the very least partly impressed by their hosts. That is in keeping with a number of Detroit gamers, who stated after the sport that music artist and Atlanta superstar Quavo unintentionally motivated the guests.
“I instructed (Quavo) he fueled that,” Andre Drummond instructed reporters. “He was speaking an excessive amount of.”
“Quavo began speaking and saying I couldn’t maintain Trae [Young],” Pistons rookie Bruce Brown added. “I simply did what I wanted to do. It was enjoyable.”
Detroit guard Reggie Jackson (32 factors) took the sentiment one step additional, instantly operating the sport ball to Quavo as time expired.
Trae did do that, although…
What number of guys get a defender to show a whole circle in confusion earlier than realizing he is been duped? Trae Younger is one in every of them.
Buzz Metropolis’s edge
The Hornets aren’t seen as contenders, however the East’s elite ought to be cautious of taking them calmly when a first-round sequence shifts to Charlotte. The league’s current All-Star hosts maintain a 20-9 file at residence, a surprisingly strong mark given their total sub-.500 file.
Coach James Borrego made a change in hopes of stimulating extra common success, inserting rookie Mikal Bridges into the beginning lineup for Jeremy Lamb. The transfer labored in Charlotte’s comeback win over Washington. The Hornets’ new beginning 5 boasted a whopping 19.5 internet ranking whereas on the ground and assisted on 11 of its 16 makes.
The pattern dimension is small, however any consistency the Hornets can slide alongside All-Star starter Kemba Walker could be welcome.