Following practice on Wednesday, Paul George talked about his All-Star experience and the coincidence that the Pacers play the Thunder in the first game after the break which will have PG facing fellow All-Stars, Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant. Each took a little shine from PG's 41-point effort in the All-Star game which the West won running away.
"It's definitely going to be a little grudge," PG joked. "Although Russ won (MVP), KD took part in the double team."
The Pacers play in OKC on Friday but also at the Fieldhouse in four weeks, giving PG multiple chances to exact a little revenge.
'I definitely got some buckets to give out," PG said.
On a more serious note, the Pacers will be tested early in what is now a 29-game stretch run to the end of the season, playing three road games in four days starting in OKC before heading to Florida for a Sunday/Monday back-to-back against the Magic and Heat.
Bringing back two W's would be wonderful and after the trade deadline certainly possible. The Magic made several trades and appear more interested in looking to the future than making an immediate run at the playoffs. The Heat were dealt a harsh blow with the brutal news that Chris Bosh is dealing with a blood clot issues in his leg once again putting him on the shelf indefinitely.
Considering the Pacers have essentially played to expectations all season, it sure would be nice to exceed those expectations with a road win at OKC on Friday night. No easy task slowing down Russ and KD on their home floor. The Pacers have lost by double digits in their last four visits to OKC, failing to score over 95 points nor hold the Thunder under 104 in any of the four L's. In fact, the Pacers haven't won in OKC since Westbrook's rookie season on April 5, 2009.
While KD and Russ still anchor the Thunder, the Pacers are a completely different team. In that last win, Danny Granger led the Pacers with 24 points but Troy Murphy played a huge role by making all six of his three-pointers to finish with 22 points and 9 rebounds. The Pacers won 117-99 with Brandon Rush playing 33 minutes and Stephen Graham logging 20 minutes off the bench.
Looking back at that game makes me realize that maybe the expectations for Jim O'Brien were a tad high at the time.
Check out the links: