The Los Angeles Clippers wasted no time getting back on track against the Atlanta Hawks, unleashing a 43-point first quarter and never looking back en route to their biggest win of the 2019-20 season.
The Clippers piled on 150 points onto the scoreboard in the 49-point win, falling just two points shy of the franchise's highest ever point total of 152.
Still missing Kawhi Leonard and Pat Beverley, the Clippers well and truly filled the void, with Paul George dazzling in his home debut at the Staples Center.
In a game that promised plenty but was never really close, here are some of the main takeaways:
Paul George and his shoulders look just fine
Coming off 33 points in a Clippers debut that Paul George described as "terrible", the six-time All-Star wasted no time endearing himself to his new home fans, with a blistering 15-point first quarter.
Scorching the nets for 6-for-11 shooting from beyond the arc, George poured in 37 points in just 20 minutes, as the win was never in doubt for the now 8-5 Clippers.
Perhaps the most impressive part of the performance from George was his ability to draw contact when going to the basket, showing absolutely zero fear of taking a hit on his troublesome shoulders.
Just like they drew it up.@Yg_Trece steal ➡️ @MONSTATREZZ slam pic.twitter.com/boEfWHuisC- LA Clippers (@LAClippers) November 17, 2019
George became the first player in Clippers franchise history to score 30+ points in his first two games with the franchise, and is now avergaing 35 points per game in just 44 total minutes.
As if his scoring outburst wasn't enough, George brought the Staples Center crowd to their feet with a perfect off-the-backboard pass to the trailing Montrezl Harrell, who threw the lob down with authority to put an exclamation mark on the effort.
In a terrifying thought for the rest of the league, the Clippers are yet to come close to having their best team on the floor.
Kawhi's health is concerning
Disappointingly, the debut of the George-Leonard big two in LA was once again put on hold, with the latter once again missing with what was listed as a left knee contusion.
Leonard's long-running health concerns are no secret, but the fact that he has now missed four of the first 13 games of the season is more than a little troubling.
The two-time Finals MVP was visibly hobbled throughout the playoffs last season, and if the start to this season is any indication, his rehabilitation has not taken any major steps towards recovery.
Not playing in back-to-backs is one thing, but missing multiple games with the ailment is another story. The Clippers will be holding their breath that their franchise superstar has a long playoff run in him this season as the battle for Staples Center supremacy heats up.
Time will tell.
Young Hawks suffer in LA double opener
For Atlanta, this one was over before it really began.
The Hawks fell behind double-digits in the opening minutes and never recovered, in what now looms as a brutal back-to-back set for Lloyd Pierce's squad.
In an attempt to reduce wear and tear on travelling teams, there have been a number of Staples Center back-to-backs already this season, and the Hawks are just the latest team to run into the Western Conference buzzsaw.
The crossover just too quick pic.twitter.com/vvhjyHCbId- Atlanta Hawks (@ATLHawks) November 17, 2019
Now sitting at 4-8 on the season, Atlanta need to start picking up some wins to avoid losing touch with playoff seeding in the East, though it would seem hard to imagine a date with LeBron James and Anthony Davis will help them achieve that goal.
Trae Young finished with 20 points and six assists, though, he struggled to shoot the ball, going just 4-for-16 from the field and 2-for-7 from three. If the Hawks are to get on track, they are going to need a first-class performance from their young star.