We made it!
The NBA All-Star break officially ends on Thursday night when the league tips off a six-game slate with just shy of eight weeks remaining in the regular season.
The Pacers return to action on Friday night in New York where they will face the Knicks. The injury report is clean for the Blue and Gold including Victor Oladipo who will now play without a minutes restriction, as Jim Ayello reports.
“He’s pretty happy about that,” McMillan said of Oladipo, who returned for a seven-game stretch before the NBA All-Star break. “But we’re going to be smart about it. I can play him as many minutes as I want, but we’ll look at how he comes out of those games with increased minutes and adjust accordingly.”
That doesn’t mean all of Vic’s restrictions are lifted as Nate McMillan indicated on Wednesday that the team would still hold Oladipo out of back-to-back games. The good news is that the Pacers only have three back-to-backs remaining on the schedule so (knock on wood, good lord willin’, all that stuff) Vic will be good for 24 of the Pacers final 27 games.
The back-to-back parings include: Miami/Cleveland (March 20, 21), @Sacramento/@LAC (March 29, 30) and @Miami/@Boston (April 7, 8). Considering the way the games fall on the schedule, the Pacers and/or Vic may prefer to sit out the second game of the last two back-to-backs. On paper, the Clippers game in LA is a higher profile game and part of a stretch where the Pacers play on the prior Friday, then day off, play Sunday and Monday, then day off, then face the Lakers on Wednesday.
In the final back-to-back, the games against Miami and Boston will likely be equally important at the team, however the Boston game will be televised nationally on ESPN. Vic likes the bright lights so he may want to play in both games at Staples Center and the ESPN game.
Let’s just hope he’s healthy and able to have his choice of games to play during the final stretch of the regular season.
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