Paul George returns to Indiana with his new running mates and lo and behold, the Pacers have a better record than the Thunder.
That’s right, Indiana (16-11) has won four-straight and Victor Oladipo is playing like an All-Star. His 24.5 points per game ranks fourth in the East and he’s shooting a career high 44.4 percent from three.
But Indiana isn’t a one-man show. Oladipo is one of six Pacers scoring in double figures. The other four starters can all score – Darren Collison (12.0), Bojan Bogdanovic (14.6), Thaddeus Young (13.4) and Myles Turner (14.4) – and sophomore Domantas Sabonis adds 12.1 points and 8.5 rebounds off the bench.
The national perspective is arguing the Pacers got the better end of the Paul George deal, that sent Oladipo and Sabonis to Indiana. It’s still probably too early to tell and one can’t dismiss the fact that the Thunder demolished the Pacers earlier this season. Russell Westbrook (28 points, 10 rebounds, 16 assists), Carmelo Anthony (28 points, 10 rebounds) and Steven Adams (17 points, 11 rebounds) were unstoppable despite George’s disappearance.
George had a frustrating night against his old team, fouling out with just 10 points in 19 minutes. Oladipo was magnificent (35 points on 18 shots) but he ended the night -20 on the plus/minus.
Turner missed that game and he’ll make a big difference in the middle – both offensively and defensively – against Adams.
The Thunder could be without defensive stalwart Andre Roberson, who missed the last game against Charlotte and remains questionable. Starting point guard Darren Collison is questionable for the Pacers after missing their last game with a knee injury.