On Tuesday, the Los Angeles Clippers defeated the Portland Trail Blazers in a blowout game, 117-97. Montrezl Harrell was superb and led the team with 26 points and nine rebounds. Paul George trailed Harrell and closed out the game with 25 points, four rebounds and three assists.
This victory gave the Clippers nine-straight wins at home while pushing their record to 13-1 at the Staples Center so far this season. The Clippers also held 10-time All-Star Carmelo Anthony in check, as he ended the game with just nine points.
Anthony and George used to play together on Oklahoma City Thunder during the 2017-18 season. Yesterday in a post-game interview revealed by Tomer Azarly of ClutchPoints, PG reflected on his time with Melo in the past.
“He was the big brother, he was the mentor, he was the one who got me this chain. The list goes on for what Melo did for me there. The biggest takeaway was [he was] a big brother… He was just a positive influence,” George said.
Paul George X Carmelo Anthony X Russell Westbrook
George, Melo and Russell Westbrook all played for the Oklahoma City Thunder during the 2017-18 season. After six years of playing for the New York Knicks, Anthony ran into some conflict with the then-team president Phil Jackson. This led to Anthony’s eventual trade to OKC on Sept. 25, 2017 – in exchange for Enes Kanter, Doug McDermott and a 2018 second-round pick.
Melo only spent one season in Oklahoma City before being traded to the Atlanta Hawks. PG played for the Indiana Pacers from 2010-17 before being traded to OKC on July 6, 2017. George stayed with OKC for two seasons. Westbrook, on the other hand, spent his entire career with the franchise from 2008 until he was traded to the Houston Rockets this offseason.
With a trio like this OKC became one of the popular choices to contend for the Western Conference title. Per USA Today Sports, even George thought so.
“This feels like a championship team,” George said. “I’m in a good place. I know Russ (Westbrook) is in a good place. Melo is motivated more than ever…You put us three together, who all have something to prove still, (and) we’re going to be a special team. We have a young group, a lot of talent here, an unbelievable coach (in Billy Donovan), (and) as you see, a front office that’s willing to do whatever it takes to improve the team. It just has all the makeups to be a great organization and a chance to put championships together.”
During the regular season OKC went 48-34 with their trio and placed fourth in the Western Conference. Unfortunately, the team lost in the first round of playoffs to the Utah Jazz. For the 2017-18 season, George averaged 21.9 points, 5.7 boards and 3.3 assists. Melo averaged 16.2 points, 5.8 rebounds and 1.3 assists. Westbrook tallied an average of 25.4 points, 10.1 boards and 10.3 assists per game.
Before George reunited with his former teammate last night, he commented on Melo’s NBA return.
“It’s great… I just hate the narratives that are created by him being back. Melo’s been a great player, he’s gonna be a great player. He’s playing terrific from start to finish. Shout out Portland for opening that door back up for Melo,” George said.