Westbrook a man of his word - George hails Thunder star after prickly win
Paul George called Russell Westbrook "a man of his word" after leading the Oklahoma City Thunder to a tetchy Game 3 win over the Portland Trail Blazers.
Westbrook stated his display in a Game 2 loss in Portland was "unacceptable" and stepped up brilliantly on Friday, contributing 33 points and 11 assists as the Thunder took their first victory of the series.
The Blazers threatened to move towards a 3-0 lead with a brilliant third quarter that saw Damian Lillard drop 25 of his 32 points, but the point guard was shut down in the final period as Oklahoma City completed a 120-108 win in a fiery encounter.
George said of Westbrook: "He's a man of his word. He came out, he led, we got behind him and he put us on his back."
Westbrook did his 'rock the baby' celebration after scoring an and-one jump shot over Lillard in the third quarter and the two continued to engage in verbal sparring as OKC closed in on victory.
George was also involved in the back and forth and he threw down a dunk after time expired that did not impress Lillard.
He said: "It's the playoffs, people do things that maybe they're trying to get under somebody's skin, or maybe trying to make a statement.
"It doesn't matter. The game was over; the game was decided. Typically, people say you don't do stuff like that, but honestly I really couldn't care less.
"The game had been decided and if that's something they needed to do to make themselves feel more dominant or feel better, then so be it."
When asked about the dunk, George reiterated Westbrook's last answer in a tense news conference by saying: "Next question."
Schröder shimmy.— OKC THUNDER (@okcthunder) April 20, 2019
17p|6a|5r so far. pic.twitter.com/fSaAn8T7Cg
Dennis Schroder taunted Lillard with two minutes remaining in the fourth quarter by copying his 'Dame Time' celebration.
"I did see it. I thought it was kind of funny that he waited so late in the game, when he knew the game was decided, to do it," said Lillard.
"And he also hadn't done that in the first two games. So I thought that was interesting."