Clippers still waiting for Paul George and Kawhi Leonard to share court

LOS ANGELES — The Clippers will have to wait to unveil their dynamic duo together. While Paul George made his hometown debut when Los Angeles Clippers hosted the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday at Staples Center, Kawhi Leonard missed his second consecutive game and fifth overall because of “left knee injury management.”.

“There’s no concern,” coach Doc Rivers said. “It’s day-to-day.”.

There doesn’t appear to be any concern with George either after offseason surgery on both shoulders. George scored 37 points in 20 minutes as the Clippers led the entire way in a 150-101 rout. He shot 10-of-17 from the field overall, 6-of-11 from 3-point range and made all 11 of his free throws.

George’s big outing came two days after he scored 33 points on 10-of-17 shooting in 24 minutes during his season debut in New Orleans. He’s the first player in Clippers history to score at least 30 points in his first two games with the team.

With George leading the way and five other player scoring in double figures, the Clippers cruised on a night when didn’t seem to miss Leonard.

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Rivers stressed that the Clippers have not become more comfortable sitting Leonard because of George’s return. Rivers added that Leonard’s left knee worsened on Thursday when he played a season-high 41 minutes in a loss to the Houston Rockets. Clippers guard Patrick Beverley also missed a second consecutive game because of a sore left calf.

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The Clippers have off days in between home games this week against Oklahoma City (Monday), Boston (Wednesday), Houston (Friday) and New Orleans (Nov. 24), but Rivers suggested the team will integrate Leonard and George in games. In fact, Rivers said the Clippers fielded only a full practice once in training camp when also accounting for an injury to guard Landry Shamet (high ankle sprain).

Rivers did not sound concerned with his fluctuating roster. The Clippers planned to handle Leonard’s workload while remaining patient with George to rehab two surgically repaired shoulders.

“Obviously I’d love to play them every game and be out there,” Rivers said. “If this happened in training camp and then they missed these games, it’d be different. We knew ahead of time with both early on it would be a tough go for us. We haven’t been antsy about it at all.”.

George made his Clippers debut after missing the first 11 games and tempered any frustration with the team’s six-point loss to the Pelicans with his 33-point performance. Although he became the first NBA player in league history to have at least 30 points in under 25 minutes in a team debut, George expressed dissatisfaction with his performance because of his rusty conditioning and slow reactions on defense.

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Rivers sounded unsure how long it will take George to overcome his rustiness that will be tempered with a minutes restriction based on his fatigue. But Rivers sounded encouraged with George’s self criticism.

“I’m really happy he was unhappy,” Rivers said. “That means he wants to keep getting better.”.

Follow USA TODAY NBA writer Mark Medina on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

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