The Pacers desperately wanted to make Victor Oladipo’s comeback game worthy of celebration. Down the stretch they were pressing to make it happen while trying to make up a 7-point deficit over the final four minutes.
Getting stops on the defensive end wasn’t the issue. In fact, the Pacers reeled off eight consecutive stops to hold the Bulls scoreless during that stretch. But getting buckets was a struggle with Vic in the mix everything wasn’t going smooth. There were untimely turnovers when Malcolm Brogdon and then Justin Holiday zigged a pass to Vic just has he was zagging away. They were playing their first game together and it showed.
But Brogdon got to the rim twice and after Holiday missed a game-tying 3-ball attempt in the corner, the Pacers scrapped for the OReb to set up Vic for his moment from 28-feet. Nate McMillan said after the game that the first option on that play was for Brogdon and then Oladipo, but wasn’t surprised by how the play ended.
”He wasn’t passing that ball,” McMillan said with a wry smile. “He wasn’t passing that ball.”
With the Fieldhouse roof trembling and the game going to OT, all of the pressure others felt to deliver the W fo Vic was lifted. Justin Holiday splashed a corner three, then Brogdon followed with another triple and suddenly the Pacers were running away with the win. Oladipo sat out the OT and wasn’t needed to finish off the Bulls. His work was done for the night and done well.
”I feel like I’ve been in a WWE fight with The Undertaker, and he just threw me in the cage and he came from the top rope,” Oladipo said after the game. “At the end of the day, can’t nothing steal my joy. My body feels phenomenal right now. I did pretty good with the 21 minutes. I just have to keep getting better. Get my body used to that level of basketball again, eventually my body will come, but my mind will always be there.”
The emotional night ended perfect for Vic and the Pacers. Oladipo is back and now the Pacers can get back to work trying to turn their sudden depth of talent into a contender over the final ten weeks of the season.
For those that have asked, Slick’s call on the Oladipo game tying three is a classic. Thanks, Kyle https://t.co/JpMXDSs9M9— Mark Joseph Boyle (@Mark_J_Boyle) January 30, 2020
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