OKLAHOMA CITY – Paul George turned the corner and a runway to the brink had opened. It was just over a minute for the Sunday contest, with the Milwaukee Bucks closing the gap to four and the Oklahoma City Thunder in desperate need of a bucket.
But what appeared to have soon had a near lane 7-foot Greek obstacle waiting. Giannis Antetokounmpo took a few giant steps and prepared for a collision in the air.
"I saw him passing by late," George said. "He's a guy who will marginally play a role, any floater or something like that, he'll try to block, at which point you have to be aggressive on the edge."
George isn & # 39; With the same type of copycat he once was, but with options that were limited to a player like Antetokounmpo, he took the path of greatest resistance and seized him over the infinite arms of Antetokounmpo to restore a six point lead ,
"It P," said Thunderwatch Terrance Ferguson, "He always pulls out something. He was wearing his NASA shoes. So he definitely had to take off, and that's exactly what he did. Put that in a commercial. "
The Bucks responded again, however, and Eric Bledsoe grabbed a three-pointer wing to reduce the lead to three with a minute left before the end of Thunder's next possession in a sloppy isolation George held the ball on the wing and Malcolm Brogdon tried to hug himself next to him, George turned his back into a half-cave, turned and pulled out of the depths, all net and the official dagger to one Victory of 1
Paul George crams Giannis Antetokounmpo in the fourth quarter with one hand.
In a showdown by MVP candidate, George, played against Antetokounmpo and ended up with 36 points in 12-of-21 shooting – including 8 out of 12 out of 3 – plus 13 rebounds, three assists and three steals – but it was another dominant fourth quarter by George – something he did making a habit – that turned out to be (12 points when shooting 4 out of 6 points).
George broke out this season, his self-proclaimed Best Ever A rare two-way skill that only a handful of players possess. He is the main troublemaker of the league's worst and most unpredictable defenses, one that penetrated the bucks from start to finish to the fullest, especially Antetokounmpo.
Antetokounmpo finished the team with 27 points on 8 of 22 with 18 point rebounds and four assists, but the thunder frustrated him with several bodies and wiped, handy defense assistance. Antetokounmpo had blocked his shot seven times, most ever in a single game of his career – and most of what a player has blocked in a game this season. Antetokounmpo shot 5 of 17 (29.4.) Percent) in paint, his worst percentage this season in one game and the second worst in a game in his career (at least 10 tries in the field goals).
"… you know where the ball is going to go to Paul George."
The Thunders' defense was their backbone, leading to a mediocre offense, sustained mainly by George's brilliance. Russell Westbrook picked up another triple-double – his 16th place of the season – but struggled to shoot again, scoring just 5 of 20 goals. George has become the center of OKC, and it's really no secret anymore.
"He played fantastically and throughout the track you know where the ball will go," said Antetokounmpo. "It's up to Paul George."
George is a bit of an offensive curiosity, preferring to play almost exclusively in the natural flow of the game rather than ever asking for the ball or asking him about a game. He made only two shots in the third quarter after losing 21 points in the first half of 13 attempts, but he did not press to continue cooking. It's about rhythm, and George is not one who forces him.
"It speaks in favor of its size as a player," said Thunder coach Billy Donovan. "The fact that he had the patience to understand the length and time of the game, he only plays and even though he scored only three points or did not score very many hits [in the third quarter] – he only plays – he knows another quarter is coming and he defends himself and he just loses in the game. "
Every MVP campaign has its moments, and Sunday could be one of George's hissing roles. Antetokounmpo had an opponent a few weeks ago against a competitor who made a late rebound to seal the victory against James Harden and the Houston Rockets. Georges poster about Antetokounmpo and the following dagger 3 is a sequence that will be remembered, and George is stacking those moments lately. He saved the Thunder just over a week ago at the Philadelphia 76ers with a four-point game to defeat and start the Thunder's current five-game winning streak.
After the Dagger 3 on Sunday, George jumped a pick-and-roll on the next possession of the Bucks to force a theft, a final turn of the knife. It was the punctuation of a complete sequence of George and a showcase of what sets him apart from other stars in the league. He has always been considered one of the best defensive players in the league, but he is considered one of the best players.
"I do not consider myself a good offensive player, I think I'm a good defensive player," he said. "I just consider myself a good basketball player."
There are still about 30 games and plenty of time left for more moments and bullet points for MVP CVs. Harden's historical scoring run is unimaginable; Antetokounmpos's development and ruthless efficiency are unreal. and Georges two-sided dominance is unusual. It's about preferences and, as always, about personal value definitions. George is a defensive player who happens to be just as good.
"Honestly, I do not even know how to approach such a game," George said when asked if he wished he had not been able to protect the opposing top scorer every game. "They go hand and hand for me, my defense plays in my offenses and vice versa, I know when I'm trapped in my offenses, when my defense is solid, I know I'm offensive when I'm in the flow Good for me, it's different for different guys, some do not have to play defense, some can hide in a defense. "
George stayed with a slight grin.
"That's another story."