LOS ANGELES – Russell Westbrook and the Houston Rockets defeated Paul George and the L.A. Clippers on Thursday night, 122-117. George did all he could to keep the Clippers in it, finishing with 34 points, nine rebounds, three assists, two steals, and three blocks, but fell short as his former Oklahoma City Thunder teammate Russell Westbrook finished with 40 points, 10 rebounds, and five assists.
Thursday night was only the second time that Westbrook and George faced off against one another since being traded away from the Thunder this past summer. George requested the trade to the Clippers that sent Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Danilo Gallinari, and a slew of draft picks over to the Thunder. Oklahoma City subsequently sent Westbrook to the Thunder a week later for Chris Paul and more draft picks.
Following the game, Westbrook spoke on his relationship with George after the split and why it was on good terms.
“Oh, PG my boy,” Westbrook told ClutchPoints. “We still talk, communicate. Nothing changed. Obviously we’re on separate teams now when we get in between those lines we compete, but I still stay in contact with him, check on his family and vice versa.”
After my question for Russell Westbrook about Paul George, Russ gets into a pretty testy exchange with a reporter who said that he and Kevin Durant’s split with the Thunder wasn’t amicable or on good terms.#Rockets #Clippers pic.twitter.com/AT67tYRIxa
— Tomer Azarly (@TomerAzarly) December 20, 2019
George echoed similar sentiments last month as well as Thursday night.
“Respect,” George responded on why the split was amicable. “Respect. We handled it like men. Came to him, talked, it was all out of respect. Basically how it was handled.
“Russ is still my guy, he’s gonna be my guy regardless of where he’s at,” George said last month.
Westbrook and George’s teams are expected to be two of the top three teams competing for a chance at an NBA Championship down the line. The Clippers have built a strong 21-9 record despite not having their roster healthy at any point so far in the season. The Rockets aren’t far behind with a 19-9 record while also dealing with a slew of injuries.