Paul George has come a long way since his rookie season 10 years ago.
He was barely a threat from beyond the 3-point line when he broke into the NBA, but he’s now among the league leaders in long-distance shooting.
George will try to keep his 3-point accuracy trending upwards when the Los Angeles Clippers visit the Sacramento Kings on Friday night.
George is shooting 51.6 from beyond the 3-point arc after making 5-for-9 in a 111-106 win against the visiting New Orleans Pelicans on Wednesday night. He’s 15-for-24 from long distance in his past three games overall.
As a rookie with the Indiana Pacers in 2010-11, George shot just 29.7 percent from 3-point range. He never shot better than 41 percent over a season until making 41.2 percent of his 3-pointers last season.
“Just shooting it with confidence and really just knowing the shots I’m going to get,” George said. “I know what to look for, I know what to expect, I know how the shots are coming.”
The shots haven’t been falling for Buddy Hield of the Kings.
Hield, who has been among the team’s top three scorers all four seasons in the league, had another off night on Wednesday in a 132-126 loss to the visiting Portland Trail Blazers.
Hield, who has taken three-fourths of his shots from 3-point range this season, finished 9-for-21 from the floor against Portland, the 11th time in 12 games this season he failed to make at least half his field goal attempts.
“I’m not going to shoot terrible like this for the rest of the season,” Hield said. “It’s a long season. It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon.”
Defending the 3-point line has also been a soft spot for the Kings so far this season.
Opponents are shooting 38.9 percent from beyond the arc against Sacramento, seventh worst in the NBA. The Trail Blazers tied a team record by making 23 against the Kings on 48 attempts.
The Clippers entered Thursday leading the league in 3-point accuracy at 42.9 percent, but coach Tyronn Lue still sees plenty of areas to improve. A win against Sacramento would give Los Angeles its first three-game winning streak this season.
“We’ve just got to make sure we’re just taking advantage of every day, every game, every practice and trying to get better,” Lue said.
Sacramento will be playing the sixth game of seven-game homestand. The Kings haven’t taken advantage of the long stretch at home, winning just two of the five games so far.
They’ve also failed to protect a few sizable leads, most recently a 20-point cushion against Portland.
“That’s the NBA,” Kings coach Luke Walton said. “The elite teams find ways to finish those off and that’s what we’re building toward. We’re not there yet.”
The Clippers could be without one of their key reserves against the Kings. Lou Williams didn’t play in the second half against New Orleans because of a sore hip.
Lue wasn’t sure whether Williams would play Friday in Sacramento.
“He tried to play,” Lue said. “At halftime, he just said it was pretty sore. We didn’t want to chance it and put him in for that second half.”
–Field Level Media