INDIANAPOLIS — The view of many analysts was the Indiana Pacers did not get enough from Oklahoma City in the Paul George trade in late June.
The Pacers received Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis for George, a four-time All-Star who told the Pacers he would not re-sign with the team after this 2017-18 season.
The Oklahoma City Police Department jokingly sent out a tweet saying they were investigating the theft by the Thunder.
No one is calling it highway robbery by the Thunder anymore. Oladipo is averaging a team-high 24.5 points on 48.5 percent shooting in leading the Pacers to a 16-11 mark heading into Wednesday night’s home game with Oklahoma City (12-14). Sabonis is averaging 12.1 points on 54 percent shooting and 8.5 rebounds.
Meanwhile, George is averaging 20.6 points, hitting 41.8 percent of his shots,
Oladipo has no desire to stoke the fire.
“I’m kind of getting sick and tired of the comparisons with Paul George and myself,” Oladipo said. “He moved on and I moved on from my situation. Life takes its course. I’m happy here. I wish him all the best. I’m feathery right here as a Pacer. I don’t have no disrespect toward him. I’m just grateful to be able to put on this jersey every night.”
Turn up the heat. It’s mid-December and, more to the point, PG is back in town. The #Pacers host the #OKCThunder and one Paul George on Wednesday night on FOX Sports Indiana. pic.twitter.com/ymb30TfS69
— FOX Sports Indiana (@FSIndiana) December 12, 2017
George told the media after Tuesday’s practice that he expected boos Wednesday night.
“The Pacers fans outweigh the Paul George fans,” George said. “If for whatever reason, I’m booed. I’ll embrace it. I’m going to thrive on it and that is going to give me the energy to play better.”
Oladipo, a former Indiana University standout, said he has no special incentive for the game.
“It’s another game we’re looking forward to on a home floor,” he said.
When told it was a game that the fan base seemed fired up about, Oladipo said, “We want to win every game really bad, no matter who we’re playing. I hope they feel that way about every game.”
Oladipo said he understands the media and fans will hype the game.
“We got to play Pacers basketball and execute, defend home court and try to get a win,” Oladipo said.
The Pacers have won the first four games of their six-game homestand.
Pacers guard Lance Stephenson said it should be even with cheers and boos.
“He did so much for Indiana and how well he played and carried us when he was here,” Stephenson said. “I think he’ll get more cheers than boos.”
Oklahoma City beat the visiting Pacers 114-96 on Oct. 25 in the first of two meetings.
Visiting Charlotte knocked off the Thunder 116-103 Monday night. Oklahoma City is 3-10 on the road.
“We’re not getting off to a great start,” George said. “It’s playing its way all the way through until we get late in the game. We’re a completely different team that last four or five minutes every game. That’s why we have to bottle it up for 48 minutes.”
Reigning MVP Russell Westbrook said there are still 56 games to go.
“It’s up to us, honestly,” Westbrook said. “We just have to figure it out and play the same way every night.”