LOS ANGELES, CA — If there's one thing that Paul George and the LA Clippers have found a blueprint for, it's these afternoon weekend games. Sunday was another example of a big comeback after a slow start.

The Clippers defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday afternoon, 120-118. LA overcame a 26-point deficit midway through the third quarter to win the thrilling contest.

Paul George scored a game-high 39 points to go along with 11 rebounds, and seven assists in the game, including the go-ahead game-winning shot with 7.1 seconds remaining as well as the game-saving block on Cavs guard Darius Garland with 1.7 seconds remaining.

“These situations aren't ideal, but it's nice when posed with these challenges that we come together and we find a way to kind of just rally together,” Paul George said after the Clippers' comeback victory. “I thought this was a game where we really just dug down and that second half was just special. Everybody was locked in defensively. I thought we got the stops that we needed to convert and we took care of the ball and a lot of luck had to happen, but I thought we were in position to allow the luck to help.”

Clippers Trail Big

The Clippers gave up 40 points to the Cavaliers in the first quarter, and followed that up with another 40 in the second to trail 80-59 at the half.

“In the first half, it was just straight line drives,” head coach Tyronn Lue admitted. “One-on-one. Like, it wasn't pick and rolls. It was one-on-one. Short closeouts, guys raising up for three… At halftime we challenged our guys. Listen they got 80 points. 40 and 40. You know in the first and second quarter. That's way too many. And we know they can score the basketball. JB does a great job running a lot of good stuff to keep you off balance. But we're better than that.”

With 6:35 remaining in the third quarter, the Clippers trailed 94-68 and looked dead in the water. The second unit, led by Russell Westbrook, Norman Powell, and Mason Plumlee, came in and immediately impacted the game on both ends of the floor.

The 26-point deficit was cut to 12 through three quarters, setting the stage for one of those special Paul George performances.

“You don't know [when it'll be your night], but T-Lue trusted me,” Paul George added. “I told him, ‘don't take me out.' I wanted to stay in and I just felt we were making a good push and he trusted me to just continue it on. But I've been saying, I'm just played to the clock, hit zero, and I just thought we were in striking range and my aggression just got higher, and so it was just a will to win at that point.”

Paul George Finishes Comeback

Paul George, who had 16 points on just 4-of-14 shooting through three quarters of play against the Cavs, scored 23 points in the fourth quarter alone on 6-of-10 shooting from the field and 2-of-4 from three. George scored 10 straight points for the Clippers over a two-minute stretch in the fourth, hockey assisted a Terance Mann three-pointer, and assisted an Amir Coffey three-pointer before hitting the eventual game-winning jumper with 7.1 seconds remaining.

“[I knew he'd have a good game] when he woke up this morning,” Russell Westbrook said after the game. “Listen, PG is always, when he's playing at his best, not too many people can beat us. And when he’s aggressive, miss or making shots, whatever that may be, he's a different player.”

The Clippers outscored the Cavs 34-20 in the fourth quarter, with George single-handedly outscoring them 23-20. From the biggest deficit of 26 points, the Clippers went on to outscore the Cavs 52-24 over the final 18 minutes of the game.

George played the entire second half and the final 32 minutes and 23 seconds of the game. The Clippers needed every minute he was able to give them tonight.

“He played a good game all the way through,” Tyronn Lue explained of Paul George. “I just thought at the end of the third quarter, he usually comes out and with James, being smart, not being able to go back in, [PG] said, ‘let me go.' I said, ‘you sure?' He's like, ‘yeah, let me play.' And so I said, ‘all right, cool.' And went with him in the fourth quarter, was debating a couple times to get him out for two minutes and bring him back. But he said he was good. He said he was okay. And I mean the huge game he had tonight, we needed every bit of it. Just rebounding, the big blocked shot at the end, the game winner. So he was huge for us all night.”

Even Cavs guard Darius Garland couldn't help but tip his hat off to George for his performance.

“Tough,” Darius Garland said. “He's a Hall-of-Famer. What can you say? He hit some tough shots. He hit a tough shot over Evan for the game. Just tip our hat off to him. He's a Hall-of-Famer and just live with the results and try to make it as tough as we can.”

The Clippers are all but locked in to the four seed in the Western Conference, barring any free-falls from them or teams above them. They only have four games remaining this season: a back-to-back set against the Phoenix Suns, another home date with the Utah Jazz, and a season-closing home game against the Houston Rockets, who were eliminated from playoff contention on Sunday afternoon.