Paul George shrugged off a chorus of boos to score 37 points and lead Oklahoma City Thunder to a 107-100 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers at the Staples Center yesterday.
George angered Lakers fans last year after ignoring the franchise in favor of a deal with Oklahoma City, a snub which came after long-running speculation he would move to Los Angeles.
Yesterday, the Lakers fans unloaded on George at every opportunity, booing and whistling throughout whenever the 28-year-old touched the ball.
George, however, wound up having the last laugh, leading the scoring as OKC's all-round offense proved too much for the Lakers, who were once again without the injured LeBron James.
George was one of six Thunder players to make double figures, with Russell Westbrook adding 14 points in a triple double display which also included 16 rebounds and 10 assists.
New Zealander Steven Adams also had 14 points while starter Jerami Grant had 13 points.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope had 25 points for the Lakers off the bench, while Brandon Ingram finished with 17 points.
In Phoenix, Cameroon international Joel Embiid led the way for the Philadelphia 76ers with a 42-point display in a high-scoring 132-127 victory over the Suns.
Embiid exploded for 30 points in the first half alone before eventually finishing with 18 rebounds and two assists.
Ben Simmons had 29 points while J.J. Redick weighed in with 27 points as the Sixers were made to work hard for the win down the stretch after a determined Phoenix fightback.
Devin Booker led the Suns scoring with 37 points but Phoenix remain firmly rooted to the foot of the Western Conference with a 9-30 record.
Elsewhere, Anthony Davis finished with 34 points and 26 rebounds but was unable to prevent New Orleans slipping to a 126-121 defeat against the Brooklyn Nets.
Davis, who missed the Pelicans' final game of 2018 after falling ill on Monday, produced a dazzling display to launch the New Year, but ultimately could not drag New Orleans over the line at the Barclays Center.
Meanwhile, Gordon Hayward delivered a season-high 35-point haul from the bench to give the Boston Celtics a 115-102 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves at the TD Garden.
The Celtics, who were once again without Kyrie Irving (eye injury), also had big contributions from Terry Rozier, who finished with 16 points, Al Horford (15) and Marcus Morris (12).*AFP
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