It was as rough of a first half as LeBron James has faced in his career, followed by as dramatic a comeback as the 70-year history of the NBA has ever seen. The Cleveland Cavaliers erased a 25-point halftime hole to beat the Indiana Pacers 119-114 on Thursday and go up 3-0 in their first-round series. It was the largest halftime deficit overcome in the history of the NBA playoffs. Cleveland trailed by as many as 26 points early in the third quarter.
November 23, 2017 | 12:51 pm EST Update
The slow start has caused NBA insiders to question whether the star-studded trio of Paul George, Russell Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony can work together in Oklahoma City. Like fish, NBA teams also have a mind of their own and no teams are waiting for the Thunder to figure it out. George, however, would like to remind you that it is just November, with lots of basketball to be played. “You have to understand that it’s new,” said George, who had 20 points and 11 rebounds for the Thunder. “As much as we look good on paper, we have to work as a team. If it was easy, everyone could do it. The only teams that play well are the ones that have played together for a while. We’re a new team. A new group. We got to go through this adversity so we have something to look back at going forward, really. “We understand what we have talentwise. That’s the obvious. But we’re patient. We’re going to get it right. It’s too early.”
Do you think the big win over the Warriors could be a season-changing victory for the Thunder? Paul George: It’s too early. We don’t want to get too hyped off of this. It was a great win. A great opportunity to play against the best team. We have a lot more work cut out for us. Now it’s about building. We can talk about how good we’re doing and how good we’re feeling once we are [win] streaking.
What is the best thing about playing with Westbrook and Anthony? Paul George: They create a lot of one-on-one plays and opportunities. Just being on the floor with those guys is fun. They both bring different parts of the game.
When you learned that playing for Oklahoma City was a possibility, what first came to mind? Paul George: I was kind of shocked from just being traded in general. There is a ‘wow’ factor. But at the end of the day, I knew I was playing for a contending team and playing alongside the MVP [Westbrook] and one of the best players. I knew it was an opportunity to do something special. So, I was pretty excited. I was ecstatic about it.
How do you answer the question of what is next in regards to your unrestricted free agency next summer? Paul George: There is no next. I’m focused on what is now. There is no next for me right now because the now isn’t finished. The now isn’t where it should be, so there is no thought on what is next. I’m a person that stays busy with what I am doing and stays locked into where I am at. When the next comes, we will prepare for that.
The Sixers were closing out the Portland Trail Blazers with ease on Wednesday night, and with a 22-point lead late in the fourth quarter it seemed like everybody was getting a chance to play. Everybody except Jahlil Okafor. The fans took notice and spoke up: “We want Okafor!” Egged on by Joel Embiid, the crowd chanted over and over, roaring their plea for Okafor to take the court. The player who once led the team in scoring quietly stayed on the bench.
After the game, Embiid said that Okafor is one of his closest friends, and that in the end, he just wants the best for Okafor. “I feel like he deserves a chance, and I support him,” Embiid said. “I’ve got to have my teammate’s back.”