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OKC Thunder: Paul George has become Mr. Clutch

Paul George came to Oklahoma City with the reputation of missing in the clutch. In April 2017, statistics swirled that George was an NBA-worst 0-for-15 on potential go-ahead shots in the final 20 seconds of games since he entered the league. And that George was 4-for-30 on potential go-ahead or game-tying shots in the final 30 seconds of games.

Those numbers seem quite quaint and dated these days.

George nailed a corner 3-pointer with 1.8 seconds left Tuesday night to give the Thunder a 112-111 victory over the Rockets, and it was PG’s fourth game-winning shot in the final five seconds of a game this season.

A quick review of George’s game-winners:

* Dec. 5: A 25-foot 3-pointer with three seconds left that capped a momentous fourth quarter for George and gave OKC a 114-112 victory at Brooklyn;

* Jan. 19: A four-point play off a 25-footer with five seconds left that gave the Thunder a 117-115 victory at Philadelphia;

* Feb. 22: A rainbow floater that somehow passed over Utah skyscraper Rudy Gobert and settled into the basket with one second left in the second overtime, giving the Thunder a 148-147 victory;

* April 9: The corner 3-pointer off a scrambled court, following James Harden’s missed foul shot, beat Houston 112-111.

Incredible clutch plays by George. The Thunder has 48 wins this season, and almost 10 percent of them are courtesy of PG-13’s heroics in the final seconds.

But the knock against George was dubious to start with. Most players have poor shooting percentages in the final 10 seconds of games. Maybe not 0-for-15 dubious, but still dubious.

And here’s a perfect example. George this season has made four such heroic shots. He’s also missed seven. Did you have any idea?

Here are seven games in which George has missed potential tying to go-ahead shots in the final 12 seconds of games:

* Dec. 7: the game after George’s big night in Brooklyn, he missed a 24-footer with three seconds left and the Thunder lost 114-112, the same score by which it had won against the Nets.

* Dec. 23: George missed a 27-footer at the buzzer and the Thunder lost at home to Minnesota by, believe it or not, the same 114-112 score.

* Dec. 30: George missed a 19-footer with four seconds left and the Thunder trailing Dallas 104-103; the Mavericks won 105-103.

* Jan. 8: George missed a contested reverse layup at the buzzer, and Minnesota beat the Thunder 119-117 in OKC.

* Feb. 22: In the same game in which George scored over Gobert in the second overtime, PG missed a 25-footer with 12 seconds left and the game tied 139-139.

* Feb. 23: George missed a 30-foot shot at the buzzer and OKC lost at home 119-116 to Sacramento.

* March 31: The Thunder trailed Dallas 104-103 when George missed a 25-footer with five seconds left. The Mavericks won 106-103.

Those shots are hard to make. Even when you make some, or make a bunch, you miss a bunch, too. George’s 0-for-16 rap is long gone. He’s become the Thunder’s Mr. Clutch. But he pays for those makes with some misses, too. That’s the nature of the game.

Related Photos
Oklahoma City's Paul George (13) celebrates his game winning 3-point basket in the final seconds of the fourth quarter during the NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and Houston Rockets at the Chesapeake Energy Arena, Tuesday, April 9, 2019. Cowboys won 6-5. Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman

Oklahoma City's Paul George (13) celebrates his game winning 3-point basket in the final seconds of the fourth quarter during the NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and Houston Rockets at the Chesapeake Energy Arena, Tuesday, April 9, 2019. Cowboys won 6-5. Photo by Sarah...

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-f6886f699e16940c00c7bd1e3cd981fa.jpg" alt="Photo - Oklahoma City's Paul George (13) celebrates his game winning 3-point basket in the final seconds of the fourth quarter during the NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and Houston Rockets at the Chesapeake Energy Arena, Tuesday, April 9, 2019. Cowboys won 6-5. Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman " title="Oklahoma City's Paul George (13) celebrates his game winning 3-point basket in the final seconds of the fourth quarter during the NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and Houston Rockets at the Chesapeake Energy Arena, Tuesday, April 9, 2019. Cowboys won 6-5. Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman "><figcaption>Oklahoma City's Paul George (13) celebrates his game winning 3-point basket in the final seconds of the fourth quarter during the NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and Houston Rockets at the Chesapeake Energy Arena, Tuesday, April 9, 2019. Cowboys won 6-5. Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman </figcaption></figure>
Berry Tramel

Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,... Read more ›

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