Despite Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN tweeting that Pacers guard Victor Oladipo was not the primary object of Cleveland owner Dan Gilbert’s frustration over the failed trade that sent Paul George to Oklahoma City last summer, Oladipo implied that Gilbert’s comments add some extra motivation for Indiana in its first round series against Cleveland, writes Dave McMenamin of ESPN.
“You could say it added fuel to the fire, I guess you could say,” Oladipo said after the Pacers win in Game 1. “But that was so long ago. It came up recently, obviously, because we were playing the Cavs in the series, but I’m aware of what he said. Can’t control his opinion. All I’m focused on is myself and becoming the best Victor Oladipo possible.”
As for the series itself, many observers declared Oladipo to be the best player on the floor during Game 1, even with LeBron James on the other sideline. Oladipo credits his team’s effort – something seemingly often lacking for Cleveland – for his and the Pacers’ success this season.
“We’ve been playing like this all year,” he said of the Pacers. “Been playing hard on both ends all year. It just hasn’t been magnified. So it’s the playoffs now, we’ve been doing this all year. Now everybody sees, so it’s like, it’s kind of shocking to everybody, I guess you could say. But we’ve been playing hard. We’ve been playing our butts off on both ends of the floor all year.”
There’s more from the Central Division:
- The Bucks almost pulled out a victory against Boston in Game 1, but forward Jabari Parker wasn’t much of a factor in his first career playoff game, going 1-for-5 with two points in just 15 minutes of action. Per Nick Friedell of ESPN, Milwaukee is confident Parker will bounce back in Game 2.
- It’s been a tough last couple of months for Cavaliers sharpshooter Kyle Korver, writes Joe Vardon of The Plain Dealer. Korver tragically lost his younger brother Kirk due to complications from a sudden illness in March, then missed additional games with a right foot injury upon his return to the team. The 37-year-old veteran is ready for Game 2 though, saying “I feel like it’s been a very complicated month in my mind, but I feel like I’m in a good spot right now and I’m ready to play.”
- Vincent Goodwill and Mark Strotman of NBC Sports Chicago take a stab at grading the 2017/18 Bulls backcourt and frontcourt in two separate articles. Lauri Markkanen and Bobby Portis, both frontcourt players, received the best grades on the team.