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Paul George on relationship with former Thunder teammate Russell Westbrook

Russell Westbrook, Paul George, Clippers, Thunder, Rockets

Paul George and the L.A. Clippers defeated Russell Westbrook and the Houston Rockets on Friday night, 122-119. The game saw Kawhi Leonard, Lou Williams and Paul George exchange huge shots with James Harden, Russell Westbrook, and Clint Capela.

Friday night also marked the first time in two years that George and Westbrook were on opposite sides. George was traded from the Oklahoma City Thunder this past offseason in a deal that ended up sending Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Danilo Gallinari to OKC. The deal was also the first step in the Thunder trading away franchise star Russell Westbrook.

“I think his approach [is amazing],” answered George. “Russ is a guy that you know what you’re going to get out of him. He comes ready every time he steps on that floor. It was fun competing against him. Russ is still my guy, he’s gonna be my guy regardless of where he’s at.”

The comments came after both George and Westbrook played through heated battles of their own Friday night. George was dealing with Harden and his 37 point night while Westbrook was dealing with Lou Williams and Kawhi Leonard’s big offensive nights.

Last season, George’s second with the Oklahoma City Thunder, the guard/forward averaged career-highs across the board at 28 points, 8.2 rebounds, 4.1 assists, 2.2 steals, and 3.8 three-pointers per game. In his first five games with the Clippers, George is averaging 26.4 points, 6.6 rebounds, 5.2 assists, and 3.8 three-pointers per game.

Westbrook, on the other hand, averaged 22.9 points, 11.1 rebounds, 10.7 assists, and 1.9 steals per game in his 11th season with the Thunder, his last. He’s currently on pace for a much quieter year, averaging 21.9 points, 7.7 rebounds, 6.9 assists, and 1.6 steals per game on just 41.5 percent shooting.

Both the Rockets and Clippers have an 11-5 record through 16 games, which is tied for the third best record in the Western Conference.