The Oklahoma City Thunder traveled to Indianapolis for a road tilt with the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday night. It was George's first game back in Indianapolis since the summer trade that sent him to OKC and Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis to Indiana. George was was greeted with a chorus of boos. Meanwhile, Oladipo has been red hot, winning NBA Player of the Week honors and had led his team to a 4 game winning streak. Despite Dipo’s recent success and George’s struggles, it was PG who iced the game at the free throw line against his former team as the Thunder ground out a 100-95 victory.
The Thunder started out hot, opening up with a 10-3 advantage. The ball movement over this stretch was fluid and the Thunder got many open opportunities. The Pacers got right back in the game and made it a back-and-forth affair. The Thunder offense started to lose steam, however, as Steven Adams remained the only consistent contributor.
In the second quarter, the 2nd unit really turned it up for the Thunder, led by Raymond Felton. Felton was picking apart the Pacers defense, finding Jerami Grant and Josh Huestis for multiple dunks. The starters came back in and kept the energy up going on a 8-2 run over the last minute to take a 51-46 lead into the halftime break.
In the 2nd half, Adams still was the only Thunder player that could really get anything going. Russ, Melo, and PG continued to struggle, but it was Adams that kept team afloat. The Thunder trailed 59-63 midway through the 3rd quarter, then they went on a 14-6 run led by Adams and Alex Abrines. The big run gave the Thunder a 73-69 lead after three quarters.
In the fourth quarter, the 2nd unit found success thanks to sweet passing from Felton. Felton assisted on back-to-back threes from Terrance Ferguson and Patrick Patterson to start the quarter. Also, Felton kept the defense guessing by going in and scoring on the next two Thunder possessions. The Thunder led 92-81 after threes from Patterson and Abrines. However, the Thunder offense again ground to a halt while the Pacers fought back and went on a 13-2 run to bring the score to 96-94.
The Pacers had a chance to tie when on a fast break, Thaddeus Young drove and ran into Josh Huestis. The play was originally called a charge, but the call was changed to a block after review. Young made 1 of 2 free throws to bring the Pacers within one.
With the game in the balance, on the next Thunder possession, Abrines drove in and missed a layup, Russell Westbrook missed his put-back attempt, but Abrines got his tip-in to go.
The Thunder led 98-95 and the Pacers had a chance to tie. The Thunder defense did an outstanding job denying the Pacers from getting the ball in clean. Adams got a hand on the ball and Young tried to save it from going out-of-bounds and the ball ended up in the hands of George. George got fouled and he iced the game at the line to defeat his former team.
The Thunder shot 40% from the field but hit 13 threes on 29 attempts. They also won the rebound battle 52-42, assisted on 26 of 36 made field goals, and scored 20 fastbreak points. The Thunder showed a lot of grit despite Melo, Russ, and George scoring just 34 points on 10-of-45 shooting and Andre Roberson again sitting out with injury.
Adams had a monster night with a double-double of 23 points and 13 rebounds. Westbrook notched his 9th triple-double of the season with 10 points, 17 rebounds and 12 assists. George had 12 points on 3-of-14 shooting and Melo had 12 points on 4-of-14 shooting.
Oladipo led the Pacers with 19 points and Bojan Bogdanovic chipped in 15 points. Sabonis also scored 8 points with 6 rebounds off the bench.
The Thunder return to action on Friday night on the road against the Philadelphia 76ers.