NBA

I like being the villain - Paul George revels in hostile reception on Indiana return

By Sports Desk December 10, 2019

Paul George had no problem with being booed by Indiana Pacers fans as he led the Los Angeles Clippers to victory on Monday, but suggested they should direct their vitriol closer to home.

George spent seven years with the Pacers before leaving for Oklahoma City Thunder in 2017.

The 29-year-old switched Oklahoma for LA in the offseason, joining the Clippers along with Kawhi Leonard, who led the Toronto Raptors to the championship last season.

Six-time All-Star George was the star of the show for the Clippers on Monday, scoring 36 points and nine rebounds in a 110-99 triumph in Indianapolis.

He was also the recipient of boos and jeers throughout, yet he claimed the Pacers' fans are targeting the wrong person.

"I'm not surprised," George told reporters. "That's Indiana for you. It's a Hoosier thing.

"You know, someday I'll do a tell-all and tell the leading events of how I left Indiana and I promise you, I'm not the one to boo.

"I'm not gonna share the teaser, I like being the villain. I'm here two nights out of the year. The people that boo are here a lot longer than I am."

Asked to elaborate further, George stated he had nothing negative to say about Kevin Pritchard, who had said George's trade request in 2017 "was like a punch to the gut".

"You're getting close to trying to get this story out, aren't you?" George said. "I'm not going to bad-mouth KP. That's just Kevin's side of the story."

Clippers coach Doc Rivers, meanwhile, acknowledged he had been surprised at the level of hostility George received.

"Yeah, I was shocked," Rivers told reporters. "I really was. I was ill-equipped. It was offensive to me.

"But I was unprepared for that, I didn't know it was bad feelings and it was lingering. Obviously it was."

The Clippers are next in action on Wednesday, when it will be Leonard's turn to make a return to his former team the Raptors, and George is anticipating a markedly different reception.

"The opposite of what it was like [Monday]," he said.

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