Ge­orge plays first home game

Antelope Valley Press (Sunday) - - Sports -

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’

home­town.

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.

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