NBA

Paul George.

Paul George believes he deserves "more respect" for his defensive skills

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The Oklahoma City Thunder produced their best performance of the season as they beat their former superstar Kevin Durant for the first time since he joined the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday.

The atmosphere inside the Chesapeake Energy Arena was hostile and raucous throughout the night as OKC pulled off a huge 108-91 win over the reigning champions.

Russell Westbrook erupted for 34 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists in the victory and has taken many of the headlines for his stunning display.

But another player who made a vital contribution to the win was Paul George.

Westbrook and the Thunder lacked the depth and talent to pose any sort of threat to the Warriors last season and were soundly beaten on all four occasions but PG's presence was a difference maker in this encounter.

The four-time All-Star showed why he is one of the elite two-way players in the game by producing an outstanding performance on both ends of the floor.

George ended the night with 20 points, 11 rebounds and one assist. But it was his play defensively that caught the eye, in particular, as he worked hard to nullify the threat of Durant.

Golden State Warriors v Oklahoma City Thunder

He demonstrated why he's currently leading the league in steals - with a career-high 2.6 - by recording four in this contest and also notched two blocks in the process.

Speaking after the game to The Undefeated's Marc J. Spears, the former Indiana Pacers star is hoping to get more recognition for his defensive efforts.

"I don’t think I get the respect. I’ve done it at a high level in Indiana. But that’s an award the media gets to vote for and chooses. I don’t think I was on that national level in terms of my defence," George said.

The 27-year-old has been selected to the NBA's All-Defensive team on three occasions and is certainly regarded among the top defenders in the league.

Golden State Warriors v Oklahoma City Thunder

His impact on that end of the floor is one of the main reasons why Oklahoma City sits third in the league in defensive efficiency.

The All-NBA star has been part of a stellar defensive team before with the Pacers as they rivaled the Miami Heat's big three era in the east on multiple occasions.

But Indiana was never able to overcome the LeBron James-led Heat and eventually fell apart and were disbanded. Now George sees an opportunity to get back to that level with OKC.

"We had one of the best defences in history in Indiana. I had a lot of help. A tremendous amount of help. I thought I was the best one-on-one defender early in my career. I get a chance to showcase that here," George said.

Topics:
NBA
Northwest Division
Western Conference
Paul George
Indiana Pacers
Central Division
Eastern Conference
Oklahoma City Thunder
Russell Westbrook

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