There were plenty of headlines coming into United States Men’s National Team exhibition game against Argentina. However, the return of Indiana Pacers’ star Paul George was the highlight of the night.
Team USA cruised to a 111-74 win over Argentina Friday night in Las Vegas. While this event was a simple exhibition game, it had plenty of meaning for Paul George. It was George’s first appearance with the national team since breaking his right leg in a 2014 exhibition game.
George had a very good performance and was instrumental in Team USA’s win. He scored 18 points on 7-11 shooting from the field and shot 2-6 from behind the three-point line. He also picked up two steals which led to easy baskets on the other end.
More from Ink on Indy
- Still Searching for Their Groove, Pacers Take on Struggling Magic Thursday Night
- Pacers Travel to the Nation’s Capital to Begin Four Game Road Trip
- Update on Pacers’ Oladipo’s Serious Leg Injury
- Has Romeo Langford Been a Disappointment for the Hoosiers?
- The Indianapolis Colts Have a Brutal Road Schedule in 2019
George’s all-around versatility was on full display Friday night. He also spent time playing at every position; even center. On occasions, George brought the ball up the court and started Team USA’s offense while switching onto low post players on the defensive end.
After the game, George said he had to work through a couple of emotions, but his teammates helped him get through it. Overall, George was mentally ready to play and did not think about getting hurt.
"“No, it’s [the injury] behind me… you know I don’t play the game expecting to get hurt. I know it’s a possibility, but there’s not thought in my mind that I am going to get hurt. I play this game because I love it, and you know I just play hard.”"
It is great to see George back in the Team USA uniform, and the team needs him to be a contributor for them heading into the 2016 Olympic Games. Although, he might not be a starter for them.
With Kevin Durant and Carmelo Anthony starting at the forward positions, George flourished off the bench. When the second unit was on the floor, he was the focal point of the offense. This game could be foreshadowing how head coach Mike Krzyzewski wants to use George in the Rio Olympics.
Team USA’s next exhibition game will be Sunday, July 24 at 8 p.m. ET against China. This matchup will be the first of a back-to-back against China. It will be interesting to see if George can continue to build off his solid performance Friday night.