The NBA announced Tuesday that Paul George has been named the Eastern Conference's Player of the Month for November. This marks the second time George has received the East's monthly honor. The last time the two-time All-Star was selected as Player of the Month was back in November of 2013, prior to him having missed almost the entirety of the 2014-15 season with a severe leg injury.
George was the catalyst for Indiana's stellar 11-2 record during the month of November, averaging 29.5 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 4.3 assists while shooting 47.7 percent from the field and 49.5 percent from three. George scored a season-high 40 points on 19 shots against the Washington Wizards, connecting on a blistering 7-of-8 tries behind the three-point line. Indiana's forward eclipsed the 30-point threshold six times in the month of November alone, almost half the amount of times he had done so in his entire career prior to this season (15).
"I think that the biggest thing is Paul George just did what he did in the preseason, which was play terrific," Vogel explained regarding his team's turnaround following the 0-3 start. "He didn't play great in those three games and we're trying to find the right way to use him, and how to use him in the small lineup and how to use him in the big lineup. We've sort of struck a good balance with that."
A good balance indeed. The Pacers outscored opponents by 15.4 points per 100 possessions with Paul George on the floor in the month of November but were outscored by a team-high 5.0 points per 100 possessions with him on the bench.
George is one of only two players in the league averaging at least 20 points, 8 rebounds and 4 assists. He currently ranks sixth in the league in scoring. He's nearly putting forth a 50-40-90 effort, shooting 45 percent from the field, 46 percent form three and 84 percent from the free throw line. And now he's being singled out as the East's top player for November, his first full month back on the court after suffering an open tibia-fibula fracture. But what is most remarkable is that this Paul George, the one that missed 76 games last season, is out playing the Paul George that was considered an early MVP candidate back in November of 2013.
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Paul George is currently in the midst of a streak of 13 games played scoring 20 or more points. Indiana is outscoring opponents by 10.6 points per 100 possessions over that same span of time, the best Net Rating of any team in the Eastern Conference. The Pacers go as George goes. And right now, the former MVP candidate looks special.