Forget revenge: George, OKC get needed win
OKLAHOMA CITY — Thunder forward Paul George wasn’t looking for revenge against his former team, the Indiana Pacers, saying that he turned the chapter when he was traded in July.
Coming off back-to-back losses, the Thunder needed a win, and despite George fouling out, Oklahoma City looked far more like a contender after emerging with a 114-96 win on Wednesday.
Russell Westbrook posted his 81st career triple-double with 28 points, 10 rebounds and 16 assists, and Carmelo Anthony recorded 28 points and 10 rebounds for Oklahoma City.
George wasn’t featured much — he scored only 10 points on eight shots in 19 minutes and fouled out with 6:13 to play.
“All my focus, everything is to get better and bring all of my talent here,” George said. “Once I got traded, that’s out of my control. I’m no longer an Indiana Pacer. I enjoyed being there, but this is where my focus is.”
George’s counterpart, Victor Oladipo, returned to Oklahoma City for the first time since the trade and got a little taste of personal revenge in an otherwise sour result. He led the Pacers with a season-high 35 points on 11-for-18 shooting.
“Just another game I was trying to win,” Oladipo said. “I’m locked in on just bringing it every night. I take them one game at a time. That’s what my focus is.”
After a start to the season that consisted of as many lows as highlights, Oklahoma City (2-2) turned in one of its more complete games, especially on the defensive end. The Thunder had three players record double-figure rebounds and held Indiana, which came into the game as the best shooting team in the NBA, to just 33.7 percent from the field.
Oklahoma City scored 25 points off turnovers.
“We took a positive step tonight, really on both ends of the floor,” Thunder coach Billy Donovan said. “I really thought our guys gave great effort defensively, and I thought we had some really great moments offensively. We shared the ball — 26 assists. We got a little bit stagnant in periods, but overall, I really liked the way we were trying to move the ball to one another. Just another step forward.”
Steven Adams added 17 points and 11 rebounds for the Thunder, which shot a season-best 48.3 percent from the field. Oklahoma City, which was coming off three days of rest, goes on the road to face the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday.
Indiana (2-3) was coming off a 130-107 loss at Minnesota on Tuesday. In that game, the Pacers set a franchise record by allowing the opposition to shoot 66.7 percent from the floor. Offense was the issue Wednesday as the Pacers posted a season-low point total.
Darren Collison had 18 points, and Thaddeus Young scored 14 for Indiana, which returns home for a matchup with the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday. Domantas Sabonis pulled down 11 rebounds but shot only 1-for-9 from the field and scored four points in his fourth straight start.
“We could have had some heavy legs,” Indiana coach Nate McMillan said. “We used a lot of energy in last night’s game, and I thought we had some open looks early in the game and didn’t knock down those shots, shots we’re capable of knocking down. ... They made us work. They were very physical defensively, with a lot of grabbing and busting through screens. I think it just wore us down.”
NOTES: Indiana C Myles Turner missed his fourth straight game while in the concussion protocol. There is no timetable for his return. ... Oklahoma City G Russell Westbrook has scored 59 points in two games since scoring only six against Utah — his first single-digit scoring output since Jan. 13, 2016. Westbrook has scored in single digits only three times since the start of the 2013-14 season. .... Thunder fans gave a standing ovation to Indiana starters Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis, who were traded over the summer for Thunder F Paul George. .... Westbrook is shooting only 16-for-28 from the free-throw line this season.