Paul George scores 41 points in East's All-Star defeat

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Monday, February 15, 2016

Indiana Pacers forward Paul George scored 41 points Sunday in the NBA All-Star Game, falling one point shy of tying Wilt Chamberlain's All-Star record.

George could have broken Chamberlain's record, set in 1962, but he missed a 3-pointer with just under a minute remaining in the fourth quarter of the Western Conference's 196-173 victory.

The 25-year-old George said he was "unaware" that he was one point short of the record, though he noted thatWarriors forward Draymond Greendefendedhim more tightly down the stretch.

"They weren't trying to let me break that record," George said during a postgame interview with TNT. "I was unaware, though. I shot the 3 when I could have got a layup. If I had known that [I was close to the record], I would have dunked."

Green got right in George's face during the game's final minute, hounding him all over the court in the only possession of competitive, NBA-level defense played the entire game.

"We don't want any records like that broken on us," Green said with a chuckle. "Just trying to contest the shot."

George, who made his first All-Star appearance since he suffered a serious leg injury in August 2014, shot 16-of-26 from the floor and made nine 3-pointers, which tiedRussell Westbrook for the second-highest scoring in All-Star Game history.

Westbrook scored 41 points last year in Brooklyn en route to being named All-Star Game MVP. The Oklahoma City Thunder guardwas named MVP of this year's game,too, after leading the Western Conference with 31 points Sunday.

"I had every intention of trying to walk away with some hardware, trying to win that MVP," George said. "Granted, I didn't, but I had a helluva night. I had fun."

George told TNT that he considered himself "blessed" to be able to perform so well less than two years after his injury. He suffered a compound fracture on Aug. 1, 2014, during a scrimmage at Team USA training camp and played in just six games last season. George has appeared in all 53 of Indiana's games this season and is averaging a career-high 23.3 points per game.

"I had a hard-fought summer, hard-fought rehab year," George said. "It was just a very upward climb. It took every day and, really, every moment of rehab to get through it. There were a lot of days where I felt like I was down and out but just stayed with it."

While he was injured, George worked on two of his game's weaknesses: ballhandling and perimeter shooting. He returned this season a more well-rounded player and averaged 29.5 points, 8.2 rebounds and 4.3 assists the first month of the season. Those numbers have dipped as the season has worn on, but George has his swagger back.

"He's back," Pelicans star Anthony Davis said. "The way he shoots the ball, the way he attacks the rim, his game is very unique. Basically, he was showing guys tonight that he's back to rare form."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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