Heading into Wednesday night’s highly-anticipated matchup between the Oklahoma City Thunder and Indiana Pacers, it was presumed that Paul George would be greeted with a shower of boos by the home fans at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
To no one's surprise, he was. After all, George made it perfectly clear that he would not re-sign with the Pacers after this season, prompting them to trade him to the Thunder in exchange for Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis.
Therefore, Oladipo and Sabonis were also facing their former team with a revenge narrative on the other side as well.
It was close, but the Thunder pulled off a gritty 100-95 victory on Wednesday. However, they did so in spite of PG-13’s terrible shooting performance. He posted just 12 points on 3-of-14 shooting along with two rebounds, five assists and four turnovers.
The pair of Pacers also struggled, though. Oladipo scored 19 points on just 9-of-26 shooting, including 1-of-9 from three over 38 minutes. He also had five rebounds and six assists to go along with four turnovers. Sabonis played 19 minutes and scored eight points on 4-of-6 shooting along with six rebounds, an assist and three turnovers.
Before the game tipped off, George shared some strong words about Oladipo with reporters.
"Vic has been phenomenal here, and I would love to piggyback on what Vic said in terms of being compared to me," George said. "I don't think you guys, or Indiana in general, is giving him the respect. I'm done. I'm over with. I moved on, and it's Vic time. And he's doing great here.”
He continued, ”Vic has worked extremely hard on his game. He's worked extremely hard to get to the point where he's at. He was great coming into this league, and he's only been mentored by great people, playing with Russ [Westbrook, while with OKC]. Now this is his opportunity to lead a team, and he's being compared to somebody he was traded for. This is his team. Let him lead and let him start this era on good terms. From what it sounds like, you guys are annoying him with the comparisons early. Let him live. Let this be his city.”
In other words, George labeled the Pacers as Oladipo's team, despite the fact that he's only been there for a couple months.
Oladipo is in the midst of a breakout year and went into Wednesday’s game averaging 24.5 points, 5.4 rebounds and 4.0 assists per contest. George entered the contest averaging 20.6 points, 5.8 boards and 3.2 assists for the Thunder.