GAME RECAP: Pacers 126, Nuggets 116

Victor Oladipo scores a career-high 47 points as Pacers get the win against the Nuggets in overtime, 126-116.

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GAME RECAP: Pacers 126, Nuggets 116

Victor Oladipo scores a career-high 47 points as Pacers get the win against the Nuggets in overtime, 126-116.
Dec 10, 2017  |  02:14

Oladipo's Career Night

Dec. 10, 2017 - Pacers guard Victor Oladipo scored a career-high 47 points on 15-of-28 shooting (6-of-12 from 3-point range) in Indiana's 126-116 overtime win over Denver.
Dec 10, 2017  |  01:56

Postgame Recap: Pacers-Nuggets Dec. 10, 2017

Dec. 10, 2017 - The Pacers clinched their fourth consecutive win Sunday night, defeating the Denver Nuggets 126-116 in overtime. Pacers.com's Lauryn Gray breaks down the team's big win, in which Victor Oladipo scored a career-high 47 points.
Dec 10, 2017  |  02:51

Postgame: Pacers Locker Room - Dec. 10, 2017

Dec. 10, 2017 - After a 126-116 win over the Denver Nuggets, Victor Oladipo, Myles Turner and Thaddeus Young shared their thoughts on the victory.
Dec 10, 2017  |  02:12

Turner Thunders Down the Lane

December 10, 2017: Denver Nuggets vs. Indiana Pacers - Highlights
Dec 10, 2017  |  08:06

Postgame: Coach McMillan Press Conference - December 10, 2017

Dec. 10, 2017 - Following Indiana's come-from-behind victory over the Denver Nuggets on Sunday night, Pacers head coach Nate McMillan spoke to the media about his team's comeback and the career-high 47 points from Victor Oladipo.
Dec 10, 2017  |  06:42

Oladipo Sinks Corner Three

December 10, 2017: Denver Nuggets vs. Indiana Pacers - Highlights
Dec 10, 2017  |  07:45

Turner Hits From Long Range

December 10, 2017: Denver Nuggets vs. Indiana Pacers - Highlights
Dec 10, 2017  |  07:14

Oladipo Hits a Three

December 10, 2017: Denver Nuggets vs. Indiana Pacers - Highlights
Dec 10, 2017  |  06:52

Turner Sends it Home

December 10, 2017: Denver Nuggets vs. Indiana Pacers - Highlights
Dec 10, 2017  |  06:19

Oladipo Sneaks Backdoor

December 10, 2017: Denver Nuggets vs. Indiana Pacers - Highlights
Dec 10, 2017  |  09:17

Oladipo Hits the Jumper

December 10, 2017: Denver Nuggets vs. Indiana Pacers - Highlights
Dec 10, 2017  |  06:19

Stephenson to the Rack

December 10, 2017: Denver Nuggets vs. Indiana Pacers - Highlights
Dec 10, 2017  |  05:11

Pacers Up the Tempo

December 10, 2017: Denver Nuggets vs. Indiana Pacers - Highlights
Dec 10, 2017  |  04:54

Oladipo Finishes Up High

December 10, 2017: Denver Nuggets vs. Indiana Pacers - Highlights
Dec 10, 2017  |  04:26

Oladipo Finds Turner

December 10, 2017: Denver Nuggets vs. Indiana Pacers - Highlights
Dec 10, 2017  |  03:58

Truth is, Oladipo is Becoming a Star

by Mark Montieth
Pacers.com Writer
@MarkMontieth

The t-shirt Lance Stephenson donned following his postgame shower was black with a rainbow of colored letters that spelled "Success."

On the back it read, "Numbers Don't Lie."

Well, then, here's a number that delivered a hard truth to the Denver Nuggets inside a rocking Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Sunday: 47.

As in the 47 points Victor-y Oladipo scored in leading the Pacers from a 19-point deficit to a 126-116 overtime victory that further established the former Indiana University star as the new face of the franchise. Oladipo's point total tied for the fifth-highest in the franchise's NBA history, behind Reggie Miller (57), Jermaine O'Neal (55), Billy Knight (52) and Paul George (48), and came in evenly dispersed and efficient fashion. He hit 15-of-28 shots, including 6-of-12 3-pointers, 11-of-13 foul shots, grabbed seven rebounds, passed out six assists and added a couple of steals.

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That's Miller-time efficiency, one based on hitting 3-pointers and getting to the foul line rather than firing shots deep into the night. Oladipo is now averaging 24.5 points in his 26 games with the Pacers on just 18.1 field goal attempts per game. Miller is the last Pacers player to score as much on as few a number of field goal attempts, back in the 1989-90 season — two years before Oladipo was born.

The Pacers needed every bit of what he had to offer, along with some honestly impressive numbers from some of Oladipo's teammates to win their fourth straight game, improve their record to 16-11, and move into a tie for fourth place in the Eastern Conference.

Nobody expected this, not from the Pacers or from Oladipo. But it's happening, and the fan base is falling in love. How could it not, with Oladipo growing into an All-Star before its very eyes, and yet talking mostly of his need to improve?

Oladipo's career-best performance, surpassing his 45-point effort for Orlando in the 2015-16 season, followed his 33-point performance against Cleveland on Friday, a 27-point outing against Chicago on Wednesday and a 36-point game at Toronto on Dec. 1. With each game, he's further entrenching himself as the go-to guy in the Pacers' offense and making coach Nate McMillan's job at closing time as simple as possible.

Just give it to Vic, set a pick and let him go to work. It worked against the Nuggets as well as it had worked against the Cavs. Given the freedom to create, Oladipo scored eight consecutive points in barely more than two minutes to bring the Pacers nearly all the way back. He got two free throws at 3:06 on a foul call on Gary Harris that appeared to be in error, added a 12-footer in the lane, followed with a left-handed layup, then got another layup from the right side off another one-on-one move that brought the Pacers within two points with 55.1 seconds left.

"You put the ball in his hands and allow him to make plays," McMillan said. "That's not difficult to do when you've got a guy who's shown the ability Victor has shown late in these ballgames."

Said Oladipo of McMillan: "He's been great, man. Uplifting. Positive. He believes in me almost as much as I believe in myself. It's pretty awesome to have that type of coach on the sideline."

Oladipo left himself room for improvement by missing a 3-pointer on the Pacers' next possession. The Pacers rebounded that one and called timeout. Oladipo got the ball again 30 feet from the basket, drove hard down the right but missed a hurried, scooping layup. He drew help defense from Kenneth Faried, however, which left Thaddeus Young free to score the game-tying basket with a two-handed putback with 5.5 seconds remaining.

Oladipo scored six more points in overtime, including a 3-pointer, when the Pacers closed with a 12-2 run. As the final seconds ticked off, fans shouted "MVP!" — quite a notion for someone who's yet to make an All-Star team, but understandable given Oladipo's recent heroics.

Even that wasn't enough to break his solemn, stone-faced demeanor. Standing in front of his locker bay, still in uniform, he was grateful for the thought but unwilling to buy into it.

"That was incredible," he said. "You dream about stuff like that. But I've got a lot of work to do in order to get there."

He was equally humble about his performance.

"Just trying to make the right play down the stretch," he said. "Still, there were some plays where I felt I could have done a better job. Missed some layups, missed some threes, missed two free throws. There's obviously room to improve."

This, then, might be a good time to slip in mention of his four turnovers. But nobody was concerned about that, other than him. The Pacers likely have never had a player burst onto the scene so suddenly and surprisingly to capture the collective heart of the fan base as Oladipo has. Last season, he averaged 15.9 points as Russell Westbrook's sidekick in Oklahoma City. The nationwide consensus of the summer trade that sent four-time All-Star and Olympic gold medalist Paul George to OKC for Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis (who had 14 points on Sunday) was that the Pacers had been swindled.

Nobody is claiming that now. Oladipo alone is having a better season than George is having with the Thunder, and possibly a better season than George ever had in his seven seasons with the Pacers. But he's not having a better season than he anticipated.

"Y'all might be surprised," he said. "I put in the work. I work every day. I have no limit to how hard I work. I'm trying to be great. There's no in-between and I can't settle for anything less."

George, by the way, makes his first return to the fieldhouse on Wednesday, when the Pacers meet Oklahoma City. It will be a nationally televised game, and promises to be heavily hyped given the betrayal most fans feel over his departure. Oladipo, however, wants no part of that. He gains no inspiration from it, has no hard feelings toward anyone and has nothing to prove.

Now more than ever.

"I'm kind of getting sick and tired of the comparisons with Paul George and myself," he said. "We've all moved on. Life takes its course and things happen. I'm happy here, he's happy there. I wish them all the best and I'm feathery. Feathery right here as a Pacer."


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Note: The contents of this page have not been reviewed or endorsed by the Indiana Pacers. All opinions expressed by Mark Montieth are solely his own and do not reflect the opinions of the Indiana Pacers, their partners, or sponsors.

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