The Thunder came into tonight knowing that all eyes were going to be on Paul George and his return to Indiana. George played in Indiana for 7 years and came back to a whole bunch of boos from the crowd throughout the whole game. The good thing about PGs return to Indy was the fact he did it with a lot of re-enforcement on his team with Melo, Adams, and Westbrook ready to have his back. Paul George struggled from the field tonight but noticed when his game wasn’t going to make sure to get his teammates involved. Paul George has shown that he can be the ultimate playmaker on the court and didn’t disappoint at all tonight. PG came into tonight’s game ready for the fans to boo him and didn’t allow that to get him off track. The whole game it was about the team and the team success overshadowed the PG return because of the gutsy win tonight. Paul George had 12 points, 5 assists, and 2 rebounds but had 3 steals on the night. When you talk about elite two-way players Paul George is in the conversation and even on a night where everyone thought he was off he still found a way to prevail with his new team.
Russell Westbrook had another triple-double on the night and had one of those games where he dominated the rebounds and assists. He finished with 10 points, 17 rebounds, and 12 assists on the night. The shooting wasn’t as great as he would have liked as he went 3-17 but like he said it’s about winning games. Russell Westbrook has shown the leadership and at times puts the team on his back when they need a huge play. Westbrook did it all tonight from defending Oladipo to connecting with Steven Adams on the pick and roll. The way he’s playing will sometimes get unnoticed because of the talent around him when it comes to the MVP discussion but Westbrook is right there. The only thing that Westbrook has to work on is finding Melo and PGs sweet spots on the court and that comes with time. People forget that the Thunder didn’t have a long preseason together and the season is their try out period. Westbrook has made his teammates better just look at Steven Adams. The Big Kiwi should be in the Most Improved Player conversation now especially with the 20 point games he has put up the last two weeks. Tonight Adams had 23 points and 13 rebounds against the Pacers in the paint. They didn’t have an answer for him in the paint as Myles Turner was too small to guard him. The Thunder used that to their advantage and made sure to keep feeding Adams in the paint on a majority of the first half touches.
The Indiana Pacers had 4 players in double figures including Victor Oladipo who the Thunder had on their team last year and traded for Paul George. He looked really good tonight and had a tough 19 points after getting acknowledged for being the Eastern Conference Player of the Week. Oladipo was able to get to his spots and create his jumper with ease something that he improved on over the offseason. The Pacers just didn’t have enough down the stretch as it came down to loose balls and defense. The Thunder made the plays that needed to be made including Alex Abrines with a put back to give him 14 points on the night.
Paul George had the last laugh against the Pacers as he sunk two free throws and then told the crowd to shhhhhhhhh.
PG ended up giving his sneakers that he wore in Indiana tonight to Monta Ellis’ son check out the detail pics below from @beensmoove
The Thunder will be going to Philly to face the Sixers on Friday and look to build on this win tonight in PGs return to Indy.
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