NBA: Los Angeles Clippers at New Orleans Pelicans

Nov 14, 2019; New Orleans, LA, USA; Los Angeles Clippers forward Paul George (13) controls the ball against New Orleans Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday (11) in the second half at the Smoothie King Center. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Paul George and Kawhi Leonard will play their first game together with the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday, when the team hosts the Atlanta Hawks.

George made his anticipated Clippers' debut in New Orleans on Thursday, scoring 33 points in 24 minutes in a 132-127 loss to the Pelicans. Lou Williams had 31 points and Rodney McGruder added 20 as the Clippers dropped their second in a row.

Leonard sat out the game for "load management" since it was the second game of a back-to-back. Clippers guard Patrick Beverley also missed the contest with a sore left calf.

George, who missed the initial 11 games rehabbing from offseason surgery on both his shoulders, connected on 10 of 17 shots from the floor, converted 3 of 5 3-pointers and made all 10 of his free throws. He described his performance as "terrible." However, Clippers coach Doc Rivers disagreed.

"He ran plays like he had been running them for weeks, months, and I was shocked by that," said Rivers, according to the Los Angeles Times. "We ran a very difficult play for him. He scored six points out of it. That is all timing. When we saw he could do it, we kept running it. We were surprised. So you have to give him credit. He must've watched a heck of a lot of film and all of that to be prepared."

"I'm here to win games and I didn't get a win," George said, according to the Times. "We had a chance to win tonight, and a couple bad possessions in a row on my behalf down the stretch and we lose."

The short-handed Hawks fell 128-112 to the host Phoenix Suns on Thursday. Trae Young finished with 21 points and a season-high-tying 13 assists, while Alex Len contributed 21 points and 10 rebounds against his former club. Jabari Parker had a team-high 24 points for the Hawks. Rookie De'Andre Hunter had six steals to go along with 14 points.

For Young, it was the fourth straight game he has scored at least 20 points and recorded 10 assists. Young had 42 points and 11 assists in a 125-121 victory over the host Denver Nuggets on Tuesday. He is averaging 27.3 points and 9.1 assists this season.

Atlanta's DeAndre' Bembry was ejected in the third quarter after receiving his second technical foul. Hawks rookie Cam Reddish also was tossed after drawing his second flagrant-1 foul.

"It's unfortunate," Atlanta coach Lloyd Pierce told the Atlanta Journal Constitution. "We lose DeAndre' Bembry to techs, and Cam, he's just trying to be aggressive and they're calling flagrants. Just one of those nights the whistle didn't go our way."

Twenty-two turnovers also hurt the Hawks, who fell to 2-3 on the road this season.

The Hawks will be without guard-forward Kevin Huerter, who suffered a shoulder strain against the Nuggets. Huerter will be reevaluated in about two weeks, according to the club.

The Hawks continue to play without forward John Collins, who is serving a 25-game suspension by the NBA for testing positive to a growth hormone substance.

The Clippers' game is the first of back-to-back contests for the Hawks. They visit the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday.

--Field Level Media