The biggest game of the night in the NBA was played at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, where Thunder hosted the league-best Milwaukee Bucks.
In the end, OKC won after a thrilling ending, 118-112, mostly because of Paul George who once again showed why he deserves the place in the starting lineup of this year’s All-Star game.
“He was doing everything,” said Giannis Antetokounmpo. “Making 3s, mid-range, dunking, floaters. It was a little of everything. He was playing amazing.
George had one huge dunk, in this contest, and it happened over the Greek Freak, putting him on some poster. Only this time Bucks’ leader was a victim, not the star as usual.
— NBA (@NBA) January 28, 2019
Terrance Ferguson couldn’t hide his excitement because of that move even after the game.
“He had his NASA shoes on, so he definitely had to take off one time.” OKC’s forward stated.
Just to remind, Antetokounmpo is 6-11 with a wingspan of 7-3.
PG ended the night with 36 points, 13 boards, and three steals. What is more impressive is his long-range scoring last night. The fantastic forward made 8 of his 12 shots behind the arc.
When the game was on the line, he took the responsibility of dealing with both the opponent and the pressure. In the final 76 seconds, George delivered 7 points, among them a three-pointer with 47.1 seconds to go. It was a response to Eric Bledsoe’s downtown basket, which brought the Bucks to only three points, 110-107.
Giannis, who had 27 points and 18 rebounds, admitted after the game that George decided this contest.
“Down the stretch, you know where the ball’s going to go. It’s going to go to Paul George, and he closed the game out for them and he played the right way.” one of the MVP contenders stated.
When already mentioned the MVP award, we need to point out that the crowd in OKC once against chanted “MVP, MVP” only this time the reason was Paul George, not Russell Westbrook.
The MVP from 2017, didn’t have his night, missing 15 of 20 field goal attempts. He did deliver another triple-double though, his 120th of the career and 16th this season.
On the other side, this was PG’s 5th straight game with 30+ points, and the overall productivity and the influence on the game while he is on the court, is definitely making him one of the few players who have a legit chance of reaching the award.
OKC was behind the Bucks early on, but a 10-0 series near the end of the first quarter catapulted them ahead, where they stayed until the end of the game. At the end of that period, Thunder had six points more than the guests, and they slowly increased that in the second sequence, closing the first half with a 56-42 advantage.
Everything looked good in the third quarter until the finish, when Milwaukee made an 11-1 run and came down to -6.
Hosts bounced back to +14 following the start of the final period, and after that, again allowed the Bucks to catch the pace and force a dramatic finish.
Luckily for everybody in the arena tonight, George was there to save them.
This was the fifth straight win for OKC, and the fifth consecutive game in which George has 30 or more points, which proves that he is the motor of this team.
— NBA (@NBA) January 28, 2019
When the reporters asked him what would take for the team to continue providing performances like these until the end of the year, George stated that “connection” between the players is the key for all the future games.
“It takes a good level of a connection through the whole team, that everybody is going to help, that everybody is going to be in a position,” he said.
With 30 wins and 18 losses, OKC is sitting third in the West, 2.5 games behind Denver, and four behind the Warriors.
The next seven days will be challenging, as they have a three-game road trip. This Wednesday Thunder plays in Orlando, then in Miami and finally against the Celtics in Boston.
Nikola Velickovic is a sports journalist who loves to write and read on all sports. Nikola contributes both news updates and functions as a sports breaking news writer at WagerBop.