On Monday night, the Los Angeles Clippers were on the road facing the Indiana Pacers. It was a game that featured Clippers forward Paul George returning to his old stomping grounds for the third time since he was traded in 2017.
The Clippers handed the Pacers their ninth loss of the season as they collected win No. 18. George led all Clippers in scoring with 36 points and added nine rebounds with five assists. Kawhi Leonard did not play for load management reasons.
After the game, George was asked about the boos he received from his former fanbase in Indiana, as ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk revealed.
“I’m not surprised,” George said of being booed despite it being his third time back in Indianapolis. “That’s Indiana for you. It’s a Hoosier thing.”
The Pacers traded George to the Oklahoma City in 2017 in exchange for Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis, per NBA.com.
“You know, someday I’ll do a tell-all and tell the leading events of how I left Indiana,” George said. “And I promise you, I’m not the one to boo.”
“… I’m not gonna share the teaser,” said George “… I like being the villain. I’m here two nights out of the year. The people they should boo is here a lot longer than I am.”
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Clippers Coach Doc Rivers on Indy Fans Booing George
After the game in Indiana on Monday, Clippers coach Doc Rivers was asked about the reaction George received.
“Yeah, I was shocked,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers, according to Youngmisuk. “I really was … I was ill-equipped.
“It was offensive to me,” Rivers added with a chuckle. “But I was unprepared for that. I thought that, I didn’t know it was bad feelings and it was lingering. Obviously, it was.”
Rivers & George Don’t Think Kawhi Leonard Will Receive the Same in Toronto
After the game against the Pacers, both Doc Rivers and Paul George were asked what type of reaction Leonard would receive in Toronto. “The opposite of what it was like tonight,” George said with a laugh.
The Clippers’ next game is in Toronto against the Raptors and will be the first time Kawhi Leonard will visit the city since deciding to leave this past offseason.
“Oh, that will be easy,” Rivers said when asked about what will happen in Toronto. “That’s a standing ovation. Really, I don’t think that is very hard. We got a taste of that in Vancouver.
“So if I’m a fan base and a guy won me a title, I might retire his jersey that night.”
NBA Analyst Thinks George Was Talking About Larry Bird
ESPN’s Brian Windhorst shared on The Jump earlier in the day that George might have been talking about Larry Bird.
“Well, I think they are booing him because, I’m guessing because he went to a super team in a glamour market, which Indiana is not,” said Windhorst. “And it’s like they don’t enjoy that this player is going away from what they have… I know he is just making a guess I didn’t interview 20,000 fans, but I feel that’s part of it.”
“I’m more interested in what Paul said is the real villain, so I spent this morning talking to people in Indiana and only Paul really knows and we will have to wait for the tell all-digital short interrupted special, but the belief in Indiana is that he is referring to Larry Bird.”
Per, Windhorst the organization wanted Paul George to play the power forward position in his last full season in Indy.