Consider that the Pacers lost their top player, Victor Oladipo (No. 4) with 4 minutes left in the first half. To that point in the game, Oladipo had scored 4 points. The Pacers went on to gut out the win by holding off the Raptors for a 110-106 win...using all 4 of Vic’s points for the winning margin.
444 - Life is good, stay feathery.
If you are a Pacers fan and don’t believe in the mystical meaning of those numbers, it can’t hurt start now in search of hope that not all is lost for this Pacers team now missing their star.
Hard to imagine anything good coming from the devastating injury to Victor Oladipo, but one thing we found out immediately after Vic went down -- anything good that does happen for the Pacers going forward will be lead by Thaddeus Young.
Even before Vic’s injury, Young was the strong voice, in charge of quality control if you will, pushing his team to perform at a higher level against the Raptors.
Young and Oladipo have developed into a strong leadership duo. Not quite good cop/bad cop but Oladipo has been the spiritual leader of the team, keeping things feathery while also taking the big shots and absorbing all of the good and bad the spotlight has to offer. Young, meanwhile, maintains the veteran voice to keep everyone in check on and off the court.
But after the injury, Thad simply took over the team on the court and carried them home for the win as a sign of support for his fallen teammate.
Young finished with 23 points and 15 rebounds, one board shy of his career high. He was an extension of Nate McMillan on the court, constantly directing and cajoling his teammates toward a winning effort.
But with the Pacers up one in desperate need of a bucket, Young delivered a sweet jump hook to expose a mismatch against Kyle Lowry with 10 seconds left in the game. He was quick and smooth, delivering with no doubt.
With a three-point lead, the Pacers earned a stop after Danny Green bounced a three-point attempt over the backboard. As the Pacers went to a timeout, Young took matters into his own hands, pointing out Doug McDermott and Tyreke Evans to sub in for he and Cory Joseph. The game was now a free throw contest for the Pacers. Sure enough, Tyreke Evans is fouled and made both free throws to maintain a two-possession lead as the Pacers held on for the four-point win.
On a night when all of the joy at BLF was sucked out of the building early as Oladipo exited on a stretcher, Thad Young rose up to make sure everyone left happy. It was genuinely fun to watch Thad deliver at such a high level, setting the tone for his team that everything will be alright.
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