* Recap: Pacers 123, Nets 119 (OT)
Victor Oladipo started his “This is my city” routine all by himself, pointing at the ground and shouting that boast earlier in the season when he hit a game-winner against San Antonio. It was an emotional and natural reaction to the endless second-guessing over the trade that sent Paul George to the OKC Thunder, with Oladipo and big man Domantas Sabonis as the Pacers’ payoff.
But Oladipo has played well enough lately – including his 38 points in Indiana’s home overtime victory against Brooklyn – to let the Pacers fans take over. He has gone from pointing while they boomed back the boast to seeing the people in the stands carry the whole schtick. Dakota Crawford of the Indianapolis Star wrote about that:
"Oh yeah," Oladipo said with a grin. "The coolest thing now, is I see them doing it. The fans are doing it back."
As the fifth-year guard made key plays down the stretch to rack up 38 points and secure a win after the Pacer trailed by as many as 19, the fans went wild when he claimed Indianapolis.
Then they let the "MVP" chants rain. Oladipo says it's too early to start talking about accolades, since even the All-Star game is still [almost two months] away.
But his teammates are relishing this, too.
"It's pretty fun," said Myles Turner, who put up 23 points, nine rebounds and tied a career high with six blocks. "We're right there along with him.
"We tell Vic, 'Just go man.' He plays with so much energy, so much pop and ... it's great that he's being embraced by these fans here."
Oladipo helped Indiana overcome a deficit that grew as big as 19 points in the first half. The fifth-year guard has averaged 29.9 points and hit 41.1 percent of his 3-pointers over the Pacers’ past 11 games, making a trip to the 2018 All-Star Game increasingly likely.
He might have some trouble getting the boast to translate to Los Angeles for a weekend, but Oladipo figures to try anyway.
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