Consistency has been an issue for Paul George, but the Indiana Pacers' second-leading scorer has been in rhythm in his last two games.
George looks to keep the Pacers above .500 on Friday night as they play host to the Denver Nuggets.
The 10th overall pick of the 2010 draft out of Fresno State, George averaged 7.8 points per game during his rookie season and upped that to 12.1 a night in 66 games a season ago. The 22-year-old has had some big games so far this campaign, but has also struggled at times en route to an average of 15.0 ppg.
George netted a mere four points in a win at Sacramento on Nov. 30 and followed up that poor effort by going 0-for-7 from the floor in a scoreless effort during a loss to hosting Golden State on Dec. 1.
George bounced back in a big way on Tuesday, netting 34 points in a win at Chicago, and followed up that effort with another 22 points in Wednesday's 99-92 win over Portland. It marked the first time this season that George has scored 20-plus in two straight games.
"You see some of the shots he's making and say 'Boy, if he could ever stabilize and do this on a consistent basis, with the way he defends, you got a special player there.'" said Pacers head coach Frank Vogel.
George Hill added 18 points and David West had 16 along with 10 rebounds for the Pacers, who outscored the Trail Blazers by a 31-14 margin in the pivotal third quarter en route to their fourth victory in their last five games.
Indiana is keeping pace in the Central Division despite Danny Granger, last season's leading scorer, having yet to play due to a left knee injury.
"A lot of things are starting to come together," said George. "We're starting to knock down shots, we're starting to see the open man. We're starting to play the style that we played last year."
The Pacers look to improve on their 10-9 record tonight against a Denver squad that plays the second of a five-game road trip and has lost four in a row as the guest overall. The Nuggets are 4-9 on the road this season compared to 5-1 at home.
Denver held a two-point advantage with two minutes left to play on Wednesday night against Atlanta, but the Hawks scored seven straight and the Nuggets committed three turnovers during the game's final 1:39 on the way to a 108-104 defeat.
Ty Lawson had a game-high 32 points on 12-of-16 shooting for the Nuggets, making all five of his attempts from 3-point range. Corey Brewer added 19 points and Danilo Gallinari had 16 in the loss, Denver's fourth in five games overall.
"It's tough to lose close games, especially the ones of the road where we've been ahead by a lot of points," said Lawson. "We just have to get better in late-game situations."
Nuggets center Kosta Koufos missed Wednesday's game due to flu-like symptoms and is questionable for tonight. Timofey Mozgov had six points and a season- high 13 rebounds in his place versus the Hawks.
Denver has won 12 of its last 15 over the Pacers, winning six of its last eight trips to Indiana.