OKLAHOMA CITY — The NBA is yet to make an announcement on if Paul George will receive his second referee-related fine of the season.
George told reporters that referees officiate him, Russell Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony “differently” following Monday’s 112-105 win over Orlando.
"It's tough. We're so aggressive. We play at the rim constantly. We're just officiated differently, all three of us. And it's tough,” he said. “At least one of us [should] get the benefit of the doubt. But when we're on that floor, no one is getting the better side of that whistle.
“But we're going to keep attacking. We're going to keep being aggressive. That's our job, to put pressure on them. At some point, it's gotta work out for us.”
The Thunder currently rank ninth in the NBA in free-throw rate (free-throw attempts per field-goal attempt). And digging deeper actually shows George may get more calls than just about any similar player.
The Thunder star is one of 125 players who’s attempted 200 or more contested shots from the painted area this year, according to ESPN Stats & Info. He has been fouled on 31 percent of those attempts, the most of anyone in that group.
Yet, Oklahoma City coach Billy Donovan agrees his team has trouble getting calls.
“I do. It’s the same thing with Russell, too. Those guys are aggressive players. And listen, there’s calls that are missed. There just are,” Donovan said. “He’s gotten fouled, and he’s not getting to the line. I think the same thing can be said for Russell. And I’m not trying to get into, like, every single play call, but as much as those two guys are in the lane, they need to be at the free-throw line more than they’re at the free-throw line, in my opinion.”
The NBA fined George this past November for saying the Thunder "haven't been getting the benefit of the doubt” on calls and referring to a flagrant 2 foul, which led to an Anthony ejection, as “crazy.” The league has fined him six times for referee-related comments during his career.
• Triple-doubling: Westbrook missed a triple-double by two points Monday, the first time in his career he’s fallen short of a triple-double because he didn’t score enough to get there. It leaves him three triple-doubles away from 100 for his career. He’s currently only 10 behind future Hall of Famer Jason Kidd for third on the all-time list.
Anthony is impressed.
“Dang. I think I got, like, two….That’s working. Coming up on 100 triple-doubles is working,” he said. “That’s a testament of who he is as a player, his focus, his mindset, his work ethic…That’s unbelievable.”
• Home/road: George has been one of the NBA’s best shooters at home this season, but he’s hit another level outside of Oklahoma City. The five-time All-Star is sinking 39 percent of his 3s at Chesapeake Energy Arena but has hit 45 percent on the road, good for top five in the NBA.
Donovan isn’t sure of the reason.
“Paul’s a really competitive guy. I think that for him, maybe the road, he’s inspired. I don’t know,” he said. “But he’s always — he’s just a competitive guy...You’re kind of up against it on the road a little bit with the fans, different arena, different situation. But I don’t really look a whole lot into it to say, ‘Well, this is the reason.’”
Fred Katz is the Thunder beat writer for the Norman Transcript and CNHI Oklahoma as well as the host of the postgame show, Thunder After Dark, and the OKC Dream Team, a weekly Thunder podcast that runs every Tuesday. Follow him on Twitter: @FredKatz.