PORTLAND, Ore. -- Pacers forward Paul George scored a career-high 43 points in a 106-102 loss to the Trail Blazers on Monday.
The biggest scoring outburst of George's four-year career included an insane ending: The 2013 All-Star hit five three-pointers in the game's final three minutes as Indiana desperately tried to rally. Overall, he made 7-of-15 three-pointers and 16-of-30 from the field in 38 minutes.
"I was just trying to keep us in there," George said of his late flurry. "My number was called upon. In the fourth quarter, I was just trying to be there for my teammates. They did a great job getting me open to get some good looks and I was fortunate to knock some shots down."
George's explosion led Blazers point guard Damian Lillard to call him an "MVP-caliber" player, while Portland forward Nicolas Batum said George should be considered a "top-five MVP candidate right now."
Blazers coach Terry Stotts was understandably happy with his defense, after Portland (15-3) dealt the Pacers (16-2) just their second loss of the season, but he admitted he had no answers for George individually.
"Paul George put on a performance that was extremely impressive," Stotts said. "When guys do that, you tip your hat. You did what you're supposed to do [defensively], and great players in this league do those type of things."
George's previous career-high was 37 points (on 13-for-21 shooting) against New Orleans on Nov. 21, 2012.
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