Oklahoma City Thunder

Paul George's 43 points lead Thunder to one-point win in Utah

paul-george-ricky-rubio-122218-ftr-nba-getty
Ricky Rubio guards Paul George (NBA Getty Images)

Make it back-to-back 43-point performances for the Thunder's Paul George.

Three days after leading Oklahoma City past the Sacramento Kings with a 43-point, 12-rebound and seven-assist performance, the five-time All-Star finished with 43 points (on 15-for-25 shooting), 14 rebounds, six assists and five steals in the Thunder's 107-106 road win over the Jazz.

It's the first time George eclipsed the 40-point mark in consecutive games in his carer.

In what was the Thunder's first visit to Salt Lake City since being eliminated in Game 6 of the 2018 Western Conference first round, the Jazz got out to a hot start, leading by as many as 13 points in the first half.

It was in the third quarter that George took over.

The nine-year veteran went 7-for-9 from the field (4-for-6 from 3-point range) to score 22 points in the third frame. Oklahoma City outscored Utah 35-20 in the period and entered the fourth quarter with a 12-point advantage and ultimately held on for a one-point win despite a late rally from the Jazz.

After the game, George stated his third quarter performance was partly inspired by his team coming up short last postseason.

It's George's third 40-point game of the season and his third-quarter outburst is his second 20-point quarter this year. In the Thunder's two-point comeback victory over the Brooklyn Nets in early December, George exploded for 25 of his 47 points in the final frame and hit the game-winning jumper to secure the victory.

Through 31 games, the 28-year-old is having a career year, averaging 26.1 points, 8.1 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game while connecting on his 8.8 3-point attempts per game at a 38.6 percent clip. With the Nuggets loss, the Thunder (21-10) are in a three-way tie for the Western Conference's No. 1 seed along with the defending champion Warriors.

If George is able to continue his hot play and keep Oklahoma City atop the Western Conference standings, he will certainly find himself in MVP conversations down the 2018-19 season's stretch run.

Oklahoma City returns to Chesapeake Energy Arena tomorrow to host the Minnesota Timberwolves before travelling to Houston for a Christmas showdown with James Harden and the Houston Rockets.

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