The boo’s were loud and vicious early on. However, by the end of the game, it was Paul George who had the final word. George scored 37 points and the Thunder ran away from Staples Center with a 107-100 victory.

The Thunder improved to 24-13 on the year and now have won three out of their last four games.

George struggled early but fought through early foul trouble to really assert himself in his hometown, despite the hatred that came from the grandstands.

George scored nine points in the fourth quarter as the Thunder covercame trailing for most of the second half. He scored 20 points in the second half alone.

The boos started early for George, whose perceived crime is his decision to re-sign quickly with Oklahoma City when he became a free agent last summer. George didn’t even deign to meet with the Lakers about a return to his home state after years of hopeful speculation by Lakers fans and Magic Johnson, who wanted to team James with George.

Some Lakers fans chanted “We don’t need you!” at George in the fourth quarter while he sewed up the Thunder’s win with a ferocious dunk with a minute left.

George finished with 37 points on 15-of-29 shooting. While he was 2-of-11 from deep, it was his four steals and only one turnover that fueled Oklahoma City.

Westbrook recorded his 115th career triple-double. Westbrook still has 11 triple-doubles this season and eight in his last 15 games. However, tonight was his night. He struggled shooting the ball, one of the worst of his career, going 3-of-20 from the floor, including 1-of-8 in the second half. Westbrook finished with 14 points, 16 rebounds and 10 assists on the evening.

George and the Thunder appeared to draw motivation from the booing. George got a technical foul for slapping the backboard after slamming an alley-oop from Westbrook, who mimicked Lakers guard Lance Stephenson’s air guitar celebration moments later when George drew a foul from Stephenson while hitting a jumper.

Oklahoma City led 59-57 at halftime.

Terrance Ferguson left late in the fourth quarter after taking a shot to the head in the fourth quarter.

The Thunder will now take their show on the road, to Portland on Friday night for a key divisional showdown. Oklahoma City hasn’t done well in the Rose city in the last couple of seasons, leaving Friday’s game huge. Tip-off is scheduled for a 9:30 p.m. start.

Keys to the Game

Free throws: D

Oklahoma City shot 20-of-31 from the line. Westbrook was the bright spot, shooting 7-of-10. It was the others that really caught Oklahoma City off guard. Dennis Schröder who is usually reliable from the line, went 1-of-4 and George went 5-of-7. As a team, the Thunder shot only 65 percent.

Defend the three: A+

Oklahoma City held the Lakers to only 7-of-27 from deep. That was huge. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope was 5-of-11 and the rest of the Laker’s club was 2-of-16. The Thunder’s length was a problem all evening long for the Lakers.

Paul George: A+

Despite the foul trouble, Paul George was amazing. He took those booing fans and turned it into fire for his game. He was completely dominate on both sides of the ball, with steals and deflections. There’s a reason why he’s in talk for Defensive Player of the Year and Most Valuable Player.

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Chuck Chaney

Founder & Editor-in-Chief.
Member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.