Paul George, perhaps not surprisingly, was not greeted enthusiastically by his old team. (There was a little video strip before tipoff, with clips of famous Pacers of the past, and PG-13 wasn’t in it; eventually someone mentioned that exactly the same video ran last year.) Victor Oladipo, part of the Paul George trade, has been the big playmaker for Indiana this year; VO5 — excuse me, VO4 — did well tonight, if slightly below his 24-point average. With about 40 seconds left and the Thunder leading by two, Oladipo appeared to run into Josh Huestis; somehow, Thaddeus Young wound up shooting two free throws, making one. As the shot clock wound down, Alex Abrines put back a Russell Westbrook miss to make it a three-point game with 15 left. Five seconds later, PG-13 stole the rock, drew a foul, sank two freebies, and possibly emitted a smirk. The Pacers put up an air ball, and it ended with OKC up 100-95.
Thunder shooting was a blah 41 percent, and the bigger the name, the blah-er the stroke: PG went 3-14, Carmelo 4-14, Westbrook 3-17 (yet a triple-double, 10-17-14). Meanwhile, Abrines went 5-8, Steven Adams hit 11-16 for 23 points and reeled in 13 rebounds. For the Pacers. Oladipo was 9-18 for 26 points, Young an 11-10 double-double, and Domantas Sabonis, the other piece of that Paul George trade, came up with 8. Oddity: halfway through the fourth quarter, Indiana had made exactly one point from the free-throw line, from Myles Turner. (Had he made both shots, all five starting Pacers would have been in double figures, as were the Thunder starting five.)
Coming up: back-to-back against Philadelphia and New York, Friday and Saturday. The Sixers, one game over .500, figure to be the tougher of the two, but you never really know: most of us aren’t used to seeing Philly anywhere near being the favorite, but there they are, seventh in the East.