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The Oklahoma City Thunder have won five in a row, sit at 27-20 on the season, and all of a sudden, the vibe around the team is completely different than it was just a few weeks ago.
After a slow start to the year, the Thunder’s Big Three of Russell Westbrook, Paul George and Carmelo Anthony finally appear to be gelling on the court, a good sign for OKC fans who want to see George — a prominent free agent this summer — back in Thunder blue next season.
Even when the Thunder were struggling early on, George, Anthony and Westbrook always remained optimistic things would turn around.
The three stars have a good relationship with each other off the court, especially Westbrook and George — who has been on record saying he doesn’t want to know what happened between Westbrook and Kevin Durant and wants to develop his own connection with the 2016-17 MVP.
Westbrook has been praising George ever since he was acquired by OKC and the explosive point guard was upset George wasn’t selected as an All-Star this year, calling it “outrageous.”
Russell Westbrook called it “outrageous” that Paul George was not named an All-Star: pic.twitter.com/62vmKKbFSx
— Royce Young (@royceyoung) January 24, 2018
George was appreciative of Westbrook’s support and told ESPN on Wednesday that Westbrook is making his future free-agency decision easier.
“Russ is the reason why this decision is becoming even more easier to make,” George said. “A standup guy and he has his teammate’s back. We were actually joking before he went up there and I’m like, ‘Nah, Russ, man, just let it go, let it go Russ, it is what it is,’ I wasn’t picked and he was like, ‘Nah, man, P, that’s messed up. I’m gonna tell them something about that.’
“It was awesome for a teammate to have your back and to stand up. And to be honest, he should be a starter. He’s been the MVP, been the best player at his position. He should’ve been a starter. But that’s another story. But the fact Russ had my back, that’s my guy forever, and it’s more apparent what this decision needs to be made when it comes down to it.”
George, of course, has been heavily linked to the Los Angeles Lakers, with some calling it a guarantee the small forward heads home to Southern California in the offseason.
With the Thunder surging now, though, and George and Westbrook building a stronger bond as the season moves along, we very well could see George back in OKC if things continue this way.
George is averaging 20.9 points, 5.6 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game, while shooting 43.6 percent from the field.