Paul George last played a basketball game on Dec. 22, 2021. The Los Angeles Clippers star suffered a torn ligament in his elbow, and ever since, he’s been in a race against the clock to return to the team before the postseason rolls around. After a day or two of rumors that he was on the verge of suiting up again, George made it back on Tuesday night for the Clippers’ game against the Utah Jazz and did not look like he missed a beat as he spearheaded a torrid comeback.

Los Angeles found itself in an 18-point deficit at the end of the first quarter and trailed by as many as 25 points in the third quarter against its Western Conference foes. And then, as they have done so many times in recent years — including in Game 6 of the Western Conference Semifinals against the Jazz last year, when they erased the exact same deficit — the Clippers scratched and clawed their way back en route to a 121-115 win.

George was the catalyst for the comeback. After scoring eight points in the first half, George exploded for 26 in the second, finishing his night with 34 points on 10-for-20 shooting and a 6-for-9 clip from three with six assists, four steals, two rebounds, and a block in 31 minutes of work.

At one point, he managed to make the most of a lob that was far too ambitious by reeling it in with one hand and feeding Isaiah Hartenstein for a bucket — the big man was an important part of the comeback, as he had 14 points, seven rebounds, and six assists against Rudy Gobert off the bench.

To celebrate his return, George’s teammates poured a whole lot of water on him right before his postgame interview.

The win puts the Clippers at 37-39 on the year, and while they’re not officially locked into the 8-seed yet, they’re six games behind the Minnesota Timberwolves for the 7-seed and 5.5 games up on the New Orleans Pelicans in ninth. With George back in the fold, though, it’s not hard to imagine Los Angeles surviving the play-in tournament and being a tough out in the playoffs.