Pacers star Victor Oladipo downplayed his shooting struggles against the Bulls on Wednesday and Knicks on Saturday, with the 27-year-old still working to regain his rhythm and get back into the swing of things, as relayed by J. Michael of the Indianapolis Star.
Oladipo, who missed the past 12 months after suffering a ruptured quad tendon in his right knee, shot 2-of-8 against Chicago and 2-of-14 against New York. He appeared in limited time during both of those games (21 minutes and 22 minutes), coming off the bench in both stints.
“We’re still trying to figure each other out,” Oladipo said. “Obviously I’m still trying to get my rhythm. I’ve been out a year. Coming off the bench and obviously playing limited minutes is new, so I got to get used to that. I got to get used to the flow of the game again, we have to get used to each other again.
“Obviously we won last game [against Chicago]. We made big shots in order to win, but unfortunately tonight [against New York] we couldn’t do that. We just can’t overreact. Everybody else might, obviously, but that’s just how everybody else is. We just got to stay even-keeled and get ready for the Mavs on Monday.”
During his last full season before the injury, Oladipo averaged a career-best 23.1 points, 5.2 rebounds and 2.4 steals per contest in 75 games in 2017/18. He was averaging 18.8 points and 5.6 rebounds through 36 games last season, remaining the team’s best player on the offensive end.
Here are some other notes out of Indiana tonight:
- Domantas Sabonis has taken an impressive path since joining the team, climbing the ranks from a bench player to a starter (and now an NBA All-Star), Mark Montieth of Pacers.com writes. Sabonis was selected to his first All-Star team last month, holding season-averages of 18.2 points, 12.7 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game.
- Oladipo will help establish the Pacers as one of the beasts of the East, giving other top-tier teams a run for their money as the postseason nears, writes David Aldridge of The Athletic. Players such as Jeremy Lamb will have to sacrifice minutes for Oladipo, a two-time All-Star, with Indiana eventually expected to sport a starting lineup of Malcolm Brogdon, Oladipo, T.J. Warren, Myles Turner and Sabonis.
- Indiana is emphasizing a lighter practice schedule going forward as multiple players work to come back from injuries, J. Michael writes for the Indianapolis Star. Instead, the Pacers will focus on recovery and film study.