George plays first home game
LOS ANGELES — Always before Saturday, it was merely The Dream. Paul George would watch the Lakers, and even moreso the Clippers, on TV. He studied them, in fact.
Then he would go out to the basketball court in the driveway and mimic the moves he had just seen from Kobe Bryant.
He didn’t have to try hard to envision LeBron James, or Tim Duncan, or any other NBA star blocking his path to the basket.
He also provided the soundtrack of 20,000 fans roaring.
On Saturday, he walked out to a different driveway.
The one outside his home in Chatsworth.
He got into his car and eased on down the 118 freeway to the 5 to the 110, to the players parking area down the ramp at STAPLES Center.
Not the area where the visiting team bus has always dropped him off since 2010. The Dream is done. The reality begins. Paul George played his first home game as a Clipper Saturday night.
They could probably hear the cheering all the way up in east Palmdale.
His first official game as a Clipper was played Thursday night in New Orleans. Of course.
It was his parents’
When Christmas in July occurred last summer with the news of PG-13’s homecoming along with fellow Southern California native Kawhi Leonard, it was suggested in this space that Palmdale’s Favorite Son would take his game to unimagined heights powered by the energy of being home.
We now know that Paul and Paulette George’s son was nominated as both the NBA’s best offensive and defensive year despite having only half a good shoulder for the last three months of the season.
Only two players have ever swept those awards in the same season — Hall of Famers Michael Jordan in 1988 and Hakeem Olajuwon in 1994.
With both shoulders surgically repaired over the summer, the Knight High legend looked like he didn’t even break a sweat in scoring a game-high 33 points in his Clippers debut Thursday.
He, not the city, was The Big Easy.
The forecast is for more of the same.