Oladipo send Pacers past Maccabi 108-89 in home debut
Indiana Pacers guard Victor Oladipo (4) brings the ball up court after a steal from Maccabi Haifa's Brandon Bowman (15) during the second half of an NBA exhibition basketball game in Indianapolis, Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2017. The Pacers defeated Maccabi Haifa 108-89. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
By Michael Marot, Associated Press
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Victor Oladipo received a roaring ovation in his home debut with the Indiana Pacers.
Then he gave everyone something to really cheer Tuesday night (Wednesday, PHL time).
Oladipo scored 13 points in the first quarter, making three three-pointers, and gave Indiana the spark it needed in the third quarter to help the Pacers pull away from Maccabi Haifa 108-89. He finished with 18 points, five rebounds and four assists in 28 minutes.
"It was good to play in front of the home crowd, be on our home floor and get familiar with everything," Oladipo said. "It's great to be in this locker room, great to play with these guys."
And the fans enjoyed seeing the former Indiana Hoosiers' star get back to his old form.
He drew fouls on drives. He made free throws. He made defensive plays, and, of course, he energized the team in its final preseason game.
Before the start, coach Nate McMillan told reporters he was fine-tuning his lineups and rotations for next week's season opener.
But when Myles Turner picked up his second foul less than five minutes into the game, Oladipo swung into action. He spurred a 15-3 run that gave Indiana a 29-14 lead late in the first quarter. And after watching a 23-point lead cut to three in the third quarter, Oladipo did it again.
His steal and outlet pass to Turner on a fast break started a 16-3 spurt that included another Oladipo assist and a three-pointer that made it a double-digit lead. When the spurt ended, Indiana led 82-66 and Maccabi Haifa didn't get closer than 11 the rest of the way.
Former NBA player Josh Smith scored 16 points to lead Maccabi.
"First of all, when you play an NBA team you pray — that is the game plan," coach Offer Rahimi said. "Seriously, I tried. I tried a lot of lineups."
Maccabi Haifa: Is 0-15 all-time against NBA teams. ... The starting lineup included four players from American colleges — Will Graves (North Carolina), Brandon Bowman (Georgetown), Angel Rodriguez (Kansas State and Miami) and Willy Workman (Amherst). Rodriguez had 15 points. Former NBA player Samardo Samuels had 14.
Pacers: Seven players scored in double figures including Darren Collison with 15 and Bojan Bogdanovic with 13. Indiana finished the preseason 3-1, the only loss coming Sunday (Monday, PHL time) when McMillan rested his starters. The Pacers played under their new theater-style lighting system.
DAMIEN, THE SEQUEL?
Damien Wilkins might be the most intriguing player on the Pacers’ roster.
The 37-year-old former Georgia star hasn’t played in the league since 2012-13 but may wind up on the Pacers 15-man roster after 9.3 points in a team-high 71 minutes heading into Tuesday night (Wednesday, PHL time). He finished with three points in five minutes. Will it be enough?
“We brought him in because he had some experience and we wanted some veteran leadership,” McMillan said. “He’s done some good things and he’s done what we were looking for.”
Maccabi Haifa: Completes its four-game American tour Friday (Saturday, PHL time) at Portland.
Pacers: Will have a week to prepare for next Wednesday’s (Thursday, PHL time) season opener against Brooklyn.