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Oklahoma City's Big Three shooting for their 1st NBA title

From FOX Sports - October 12, 2017

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP)Russell Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony and Paul George have accomplished nearly everything in their basketball careers.

Westbrook is a two-time scoring champion, two-time All-Star MVP and the reigning league MVP. Anthony is a 10-time All-Star and three-time Olympic gold medalist. George is a four-time All-Star, former most improved player award winner and an Olympic gold medalist.

None of the new Oklahoma City Thunder teammates have an NBA title.

They say that is what drives this version of the NBAs latest Big Three.

Its a different energy, a different focus, a different motivation that myself have, Paul has and Russ has, being that we havent won a championship yet in our careers, Anthony said. We see that, and thats our ultimate goal.

Its every NBA players goal, but few have what it takes to win a title or are willing to make the sacrifices necessary to get to the top.

Westbrook, who recently signed a reported five-year, $205 million extension with OKC, averaged a triple-double last season and broke Oscar Robertsons single-season record for triple-doubles in a season with 42. But he didnt have much help offensively, and the Thunder lost to the Houston Rockets in the first round of the playoffs.

Oklahoma City added George in an offseason trade with Indiana , then once the possibility of Anthony leaving New York became real, George helped Anthony add Oklahoma City to his list of possible destinations since he had a no-trade clause in his contract.

You know, its awesome to have guys that want to play alongside you and team up with you and share a mission with you, so we got right to it, George said. The same for Russ. Those two are pretty close. We all were kind of in the loop on what was going on and we made it possible.

For this union to work there will need to be sacrifices, especially by Anthony. He has been a lead scorer his entire career, and last season, he averaged 22.4 points. He is the No. 25 scorer in NBA history with more than 24,000 points. He is heading into territory that it took other All-Stars some time to adjust to, most recently Kevin Love and Chris Bosh.

I didnt want to come here to try to outshine Paul or Russ and vice versa, Anthony said. Were trying to win basketball games, and by any means necessary, were going to do that. Im going to bring my skillset to this team, to this organization, and thats what Im here for.

He likes the fact that he wont have to score as much with this team, though he is still an elite scorer and plans to get buckets.

Its different though, because I dont want to take the load on of I have to do it and score 30, 40, 50 points every night, Anthony said. But, I mean, I score. Thats what I do. I cant take that away from me. Being that I do that very well, I think this team needs that, along with some other things.

Thunder general manager Sam Presti said the team might not immediately click.

I can write the stories for all of you the first time that we look sloppy or we drop a game here or there or were working things through, you know, he said. Thats natural, and I wouldnt say you guys shouldnt react that way. But the vision for our team and the way weve gone about our business is to always see things for what they can be and not for what they are, and I think well know what we can be after 82 games.

George said all three players approach the game the right way, so he has no doubts that eventually, they will make it work. He knows how to play with Anthony because both were on the gold medal-winning USA team in Rio.

Its not something thats new, George said. Its not something new where three guys have been paired up and they found ways to win. Its not going to be about who is getting shots. All of us talked about this. Its whoever has the flow, whoever has it going, and then Ive always played the game as you let the game dictate who shoots, you know. Those guys play the game the same way.

So Im not worried about shots, neither are those two guys. We want to win, and thats it.

The early returns appear to be good for Westbrook. He is shooting 53.6 percent from the field in the preseason while taking advantage of the extra space created by his new teammates.

Weve got to figure out the best way for everybody to play and for our team to play, Westbrook said. That part is easy in my opinionjust being able to go out, and you have one goal, and that is win a championship. Guys will do what needs to be done to win a championship.

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