GAME RECAP: Pacers 106, Cavaliers 102

Victor Oladipo scores 33 points as the Pacers get the win and break the Cavaliers 13 game winning streak, 106-102.

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GAME RECAP: Pacers 106, Cavaliers 102

Victor Oladipo scores 33 points as the Pacers get the win and break the Cavaliers 13 game winning streak, 106-102.
Dec 8, 2017  |  02:09

Oladipo Lights Up the Cavs

Dec. 8, 2017 - Victor Oladipo scored 33 points (20 in the third quarter) to lead the Pacers to a 106-102 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers, snapping Cleveland's 13-game win streak.
Dec 8, 2017  |  01:54

Oladipo Hits The Big Three

December 08, 2017 - Victor Oladipo's biggest three of the night came late in the fourth quarter
Dec 8, 2017  |  05:15

Postgame: Pacers Locker Room - Dec. 8, 2017

December 8, 2017 - Pacers players Victor Oladipo, Myles Turner, and Cory Joseph discussed Indiana's 106-102 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Dec 8, 2017  |  03:51

Lance Full Court Assist

December 08, 2017 - Lance played the role of quarter back, sending a full-court pass for the quick bucket.
Dec 8, 2017  |  04:36

Turner Rejection

December 08, 2017 - One of Myles' three big blocks on the night.
Dec 8, 2017  |  05:30

Pacers Move the Ball

December 8, 2017 - The Pacers drive and kick, then move the ball around the perimeter, ending in a wide-open 3-pointer for Victor Oladipo.
Dec 8, 2017  |  05:12

Lance Finds Sabonis For The Slam

December 08, 2017 - Lance Stephenson dropped a dime to Sabonis for the powerful slam.
Dec 8, 2017  |  05:11

Postgame: Cavaliers Locker Room - Dec. 8, 2017

December 8, 2017 - Cavs coach Tyronn Lue and LeBron James talk about their tough loss in Indy and Victor Oladipo's improved game.
Dec 8, 2017  |  01:23

Lance Hits Step-Back J

December 08, 2017 - Lance Stephenson got things cooking with a step-back jumper
Dec 8, 2017  |  05:13

Thad Beats The Horn

December 08, 2017 - With the shot clock winding down, Thaddeus Young nailed a 3-pointer at the buzzer.
Dec 8, 2017  |  04:49

Oladipo Down The Lane

December 08, 2017 - Victor Oladipo went right down Main Street for the bucket.
Dec 8, 2017  |  05:03

Robert Mathis Talks Supporting the Pacers

December 8, 2017 - Indianapolis Colts legend Robert Mathis talks with Pacers.com's Eddie White about his love for the Pacers and reveals his favorite Pacers player.
Dec 8, 2017  |  00:53

Oladipo's Star Continues to Rise

by Mark Montieth
Pacers.com Writer
@MarkMontieth

On some teams, if a star player such as Victor Oladipo missed five foul shots in a win, he'd hear the trash talk as soon as he got to the postgame locker room.

This isn't one of those teams. The Pacers, a team so cute and cuddly that grandmothers want to pinch their cheeks, a team that seems to have stepped out of a 1950s sitcom, wouldn't dare do a thing so rude as to make fun of a teammate's failure.

Myles Turner, in fact, sounded surprised and perhaps a bit offended that the question even came up.

"This is a positive team, man," he said. "We don't focus on negatives like that. He's going to shoot a thousand more free throws, man. He's going to make some and miss some."

Oladipo made five free throws and missed five in the Pacers' 106-102 victory over Cleveland Friday. The five misses stuck out like weeds in a flower bed, and could easily have been grist for locker room jokes given the outcome, but were more easily forgotten. Oladipo, who had missed one crucial foul shot late in Wednesday's victory over Chicago, missed five in the final 15 minutes of this one.

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He punished himself with 10 pushups before his postgame on-court television interview on Wednesday, part of an agreement he said he has with a friend. He didn't attempt 50 after this one.
Who has time for that, even if you have the upper body strength?

"It's something I've got to work on, I guess," he said.

Hey, when you score 33 points — 20 in the game-turning third quarter — and add eight rebounds and five assists in a victory that ends an opponent's 13-game winning streak, no number of missed foul shots is too many. By the time Oladipo met with reporters in the locker room, he had forgotten all about it — until the subject was brought up.

"I'm over that," he said. "I just missed free throws. I'll make 'em next time. I'm not gonna miss no more. And if I miss 'em, I'll make the next one. It is what it is. It's something I need to work on.

"If that's my problem right now, I think I can fix it."

Oladipo was an 80 percent career foul shooter entering the season and a 79 percent shooter entering the game, so it's not likely to be a long-term concern. The bigger concern for the rest of the NBA is that the Pacers took a major step toward proving they are a legitimate contender for a spot in the playoffs with the victory over Cleveland.

The Pacers had defeated the Cavs by 17 points in Cleveland on Nov. 1, but that one seemed a bit fluky at the time as the Cavs, for reasons known only to themselves, were struggling though a four-game losing streak. The Cavs weren't struggling this time, riding a win streak that matched the longest in franchise history into Bankers Life Fieldhouse. True, they were without four key players — Isaiah Thomas, Tristan Thompson, Iman Shumpert, and Derrick Rose — but they still had enough to compile the second-best record in the Eastern Conference.

That's what made Friday's victory the most meaningful of the season for the Pacers. The players weren't about to make such a declaration, though, because they're not that kind of team, either.

"We haven't done anything," Oladipo said — quietly, slowly and solemnly, which is how he always talks to reporters. "Take it one day at a time. Just another game we had to go out there and compete. And win."

"You're so modest," Myles Turner politely interjected from the next locker stall over. Which makes a point. The Pacers, apparently, will joke with one another, but not make fun of one another's foibles.

"We did a great job going out there and playing as a team and working hard and getting the win," Oladipo continued. "We'll have to do the same thing (against Denver) on Sunday. It's basketball. It's the NBA. There's a lot of games."

Not a lot of games like this one, though. The Pacers trailed by six points at the half, having earned that deficit by allowing Cleveland 28 points in the paint. They dominated the third quarter, however, behind Oladipo's individual greatness. He opened the period with a 3-pointer off the fourth pass of a textbook possession. He later hit a 20-footer, and later a fading turnaround jumper from 13 feet. Then a floater in the lane. Then another 3-pointer. Then a 20-footer off the dribble. Then another 3-pointer that finally tied the game.

By then, he had been given complete command of the offense. Driving from the 3-point line, he drew a foul from J.R. Smith, and hit one-of-two foul shots. He did the same thing the next possession, drawing another foul from Smith and hitting one-of-two foul shots. After Domantas Sabonis' three-point play, Oladipo took the ball at Smith again and drew another foul — and yet again hit one-of-two foul shots.

Those 20 points were the most by a Pacers player in a quarter this season. He hit just 1-of-6 shots in the fourth period, but the one make was perhaps the biggest shot of the game. With the shot clock down to four seconds, and the Pacers nursing a three-point lead, Oladipo hit a step-back 3-pointer to open a six-point advantage and force a Cavs timeout with 1:01 left.

Oladipo walked toward the cheering fans on the sideline opposite the Pacers' bench and pointed his index fingers downward. It's become his signature gesture in triumphant moments. He doesn't say anything, but it's meant to be interpreted as "This is my house."

"I don't say it, they say it," he said.

"I just do the gesture, they do the rest of the work for me."

Twenty-five games into his career with the Pacers, the former Indiana University star is feeling right at home. It's been a long time coming, this being his fifth NBA season and his third team. It shows in his play, too. He's averaging 23.6 points while hitting 48 percent from the field and 44 percent of his 3-pointers. He forces a shot or a pass occasionally, but he's established himself as the team's star, it's go-to source for crunch time points, and the fan favorite, no matter how many foul shots he misses.

Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue, a veteran of 11 NBA seasons, said Oladipo is "definitely an All-Star" in his pregame conversation with reporters. Oladipo will take the compliment, but not run with it.

"Coming from somebody like him, who's been around great players, who played with great players and who's obviously coaching the best player we have in our league (LeBron James), it's an honor (to hear that)," Oladipo said. "It's out of my control. I just take it one day at a time. I'm not satisfied by any means, and neither is this team. I have to keep getting better and this team needs to keep getting better.

"We can play so much better. Our best basketball is ahead of us. I'm looking forward to our growth and what the future holds."


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