As the NBA Playoffs began this weekend there may have been very few teams facing the pressure that the big three of OKC. The highly talented trio was brought together this summer via trades from the New York Knicks and the Indiana Pacers. With expectations being very high for them all season now is when the games really count.
The OKC Thunder open up their first round series against the hottest team in the NBA since the All-Star Break the Utah Jazz with a record of 29-4. Pressure you might say? If PG had a chance to check to see what his former team the Indiana Pacers did to the Cleveland Cavaliers in game one (Winning 99-80) he may have had a little extra to play for today.
Some would say that the main two story lines in this series are the rise of rookie Donavan Mitchell and Mr. Triple Double himself. The two undoubtedly are players you have to tune in and watch on a nightly basis. But that being said, sometimes overlooked since joining the Thunder is none other than Paul George. In years past PG has always upped his game and played on a different level during the playoffs.
Over the last two seasons he has dazzled us with some amazing numbers averaging:
28.0 PPG ,8.8 RPG, 7.3 APG in the 2017 NBA Playoffs and 27.3 PPG 7.6 RPG 4.3 APG in the 2016 NBA Playoffs
These numbers compared to his Regular season numbers of :
23.7 PPG, 6.6 RPG, 3.3 APG in 2017 Regular season and 23.1 PPG, 7.0 RPG, 3.1 APG in the 2016 Regular season.
On top of the numbers ( which speak for themselves) did we all forget about the epic battle that PG and Lebron James had in the 2014 ECF? Remember this moment?
This happened right after a ridiculous and 1 dunk bye PG and a deep 3 pointer by Lebron to end the 3rd Quarter. This series was PG’s coming out party. To quote a former Pacers legend Reggie Miller, ” We are seeing a Superstar in the making.” This is what Reggie had to say during an on air telecast during the ECF in 2014 about Paul George.
So as many may be surprised that PG came out today with the staggering line of 36 PTS and 7 REB on only 20 shot attempts while making 8/11 3PT attempts. Yes 8 made threes ( Career High). His running mates of Russ and Melo played strong as well. Russ posting a triple double while going 10/25 from the floor. Yikes. Melo contributed with 15PTS and 7REB on just 5/13 from the field. This all in an important OKC win. ( 116-108)
With all the chatter of Paul George and Lebron ending up in LA this year we all may have overlooked what George means to his current OKC team. To the Thunder in the playoffs he could be their most important asset. With Kwahi being sidelined some would argue there isn’t a better two way player in the game. After all who is going to guard Kevin Durant if OKC gets that far?
If your an OKC fan the future could be very bright. But don’t overlook the 18′ Playoffs.
After-all, Playoff PG is here. Just hope he stays.