Paul George Struggles in Return to Indiana
Last night Oklahoma City faced the Pacers in Indiana, the first time Paul George has played in Indy since being traded this summer. Paul George played 7 seasons in blue and gold and averaged 18 points per game playing great defense and leading them to two eastern conference finals in that time. Paul George also went through a hard fought comeback after suffering a broken leg playing for team USA, a long recovery that made him some what of a local hero. George requested a trade and made it known that he would leave in free agency next summer after Indiana failed to put a significant team around him. It was up to Pacers GM Kevin Pritchard to find a trade partner for the all star small forward. That trade partner would become Oklahoma City who sent Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis in exchange. That's how we got here, to a match up of significance between Oklahoma City, a team under performing their high expectations and Indiana, a team doing quite the opposite. The thoughts around the league were mixed, were the fans going to cheer the man who brought them so much success and fought through injury for them or would they boo the guy who wanted out when times were tough?
It quickly became clear how Pacers fans felt about their former star as they reigned boos during his introduction and each time he touched the ball throughout the game. It seemed as if their heckling may have made an impact as Paul George scored just 12 points on 21 percent shooting. His offense was off, that was easy to see but the other aspect of his game that makes PG one of the best in the league is defense and on that end he showed up big, even sealing the game with a clutch steal at the end of the fourth. In the end Paul George got the last laugh with the win but Indiana fans can't help but find some comfort in the rocky start he's been enjoying with the Thunder while Victor Oladipo is giving them career stats and Sabonis is finding his groove in a far more suitable roll. As for who won the trade we have yet to see. Paul George could leave OKC this summer, Oladipo could come back to earth, as with most trades we won't know until we see where these teams end up. Can Indiana make a playoff push? Will OKC finally figure things out and contend? I can't wait to see.