Paul George stepped into Staples Center for the first time since choose to re-sign with the Oklahoma City as opposed to teaming up with LeBron James on the Los Angeles Lakers. Despite all of the boos coming from the crowd, George was dominant, scoring 37 points in leading the Thunder to a 107-100 victory over the Lakers.
Unfortunately, James did not suit up for the Lakers as he continues to recover from a strained groin, robbing fans of the continuation of a long-time rivalry. The two met in the playoffs on four separate occasions when George was a member of the Indiana Pacers.
He typically gave James his toughest matchup in those clashes. Naturally, George wished James had been available to play Wednesday night.
“As a competitor and just classic matchups I’ve had with LeBron, of course I wanted to play against him,” George said following the win. “I don’t want the easy way out.
“Of course I want to take that challenge and just have fun playing the game against the best. But, it happens. He’s got to rest. We’ll get our matchups. We’ll have our fun playing against one another.”
James has only begun to get back on the court by getting up shots, but not yet practicing. The Lakers are 1-3 in his absence, but still remain patient with his return as they can’t afford to aggravate the injury further and put James out even longer.
George won’t have to wait too long for his chance to face James as the Lakers head to Oklahoma City for a rematch with the Thunder on Jan. 17. Hopefully by that time, James will be fully healed and back on the court giving the Lakers the help they need to overcome the Thunder.
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