Durant has owned George in their individual matchup, winning three of their four head-to-head meetings while averaging 31.5 points to George's 10.3. Durant has made 53 percent of his field goals in those games compared to George's 31.1 percent clip. George did not play in one of the two Thunder-Pacers games in 2010-11, and the teams met just once in 2011-12 due to the lockout.
“One thing I do love about the KD-Paul George matchup is that each time they guard each other,” said Thunder center Kendrick Perkins. “When we play Miami, LeBron (James) and KD don't guard each other most of the time. You got Shane Battier guarding KD or something like that.”
That's largely a credit to George, who has forced his way into any conversation about the game's best players behind his defensive effort. He finished eighth in Defensive Player of the Year voting last year, garnering eight first-place votes, and enhanced his reputation by valiantly standing toe to toe with James in the Eastern Conference Finals a year ago.
This year, George has helped to again make the Pacers a defensive juggernaut. Before Saturday's games, the Pacers led the league in defensive efficiency (points allowed per 100 possessions) at 90.2. They were allowing a league-best 87.5 points per game.
“What he does, he brings his competitive spirit every night on both ends of the floor,” Brooks said of George. “That's what makes him a great player. You have a lot of respect for guys who bring it and are two-way players, and he's definitely a superstar in this league.”