MIAMI (AP) — Paul George has endured some rough nights in Miami.
Friday was not one of them.
George scored 43 points and had a career-high 10 3-pointers, Dennis Schroder scored 24 of his 28 points in the second quarter and the Oklahoma City Thunder extended the NBA’s longest current winning streak to seven games by beating the Miami Heat 118-102.
“Paul George, tonight, was tremendous,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “We basically tried every coverage we had in our playbook: regular man, trapping him, zone. … One of the more impressive shooting displays I’ve seen this season.”
George once lost 11 consecutive appearances in Miami, going through some brutal defeats when he was with Indiana and the Pacers couldn’t break through the Heat in what seemed like their annual battle for the Eastern Conference title. But he was never better on the Heat home floor than he was Friday, connecting on 14 of 23 shots and 10 of 16 from 3-point land.
At the end, he got to exchange jerseys with Heat guard Dwyane Wade.
“D-Wade is a guy I look up to and we’ve shared a bond through competition and now through a mentorship as a guy I look at and honestly want to model my brand and off-the-court stuff like,” George said. “It’s great for him. He’s had an amazing run. I couldn’t say enough really about D-Wade and what he’s been to this league and honestly for my development. He played a huge role in my development and who I am now as a player.”
Oklahoma City beat Miami for the sixth straight time, and became the second team to have two separate winning streaks of at least seven games this season. Golden State is the other, with streaks of 11 and eight games.
“There were some real good positive things to take from the game all the way around,” Thunder coach Billy Donovan said.
Wade was announced as an All-Star earlier in the day for the 13th time, after NBA Commissioner Adam Silver decided Wade and Dallas’ Dirk Nowitzki merited becoming special additions to the player pool for the Feb. 17 game in Charlotte. Fans roared when Wade entered the game for the first time and was introduced as an All-Star.
They didn’t have much else to yell about, at least in a positive light.
George, who set a franchise record for 3s in a game, had 16 points in the first quarter to get the Thunder going and 12 more in the fourth to finish things off.
“He’s in a groove, man,” Wade said. “He’s been playing phenomenal basketball. I’ve said it plenty of times: That’s my favorite player. I love watching PG play.”