Pacers still finding ways to win despite Oladipo’s absence
Last season, the Pacers were 0-7 when Oladipo didn’t play. Oladipo has missed 10 consecutive games with a sore right knee and is listed as out indefinitely. The Pacers are 6-4 without Oladipo and also beat Atlanta in a game left early in the first quarter with the injury
Pacers center Myles Turner said the difference this season is several different players have picked up the slack with Oladipo is out.
The Pacers (16-10) won their third game in a row, knocking off visiting Sacramento 107-97 on Saturday night. The Pacers are now 5-0 on the second night of back-to-back games. Indiana hosts Washington (11-15) Monday night. The Cavaliers rolled to a 116-101 victory over the Wizards on Saturday.
Pacers backup center Domantas Sabonis, who missed Friday night’s game with food poisoning, came off the bench to score 14 points in a victory over Sacramento. Pacers forward Thaddeus Young led the way with a season-high 20 points.
“We just knew we had to stick together and fight,” Sabonis said in Fox Sports Indiana interview. “There wasn’t a lot of energy in this game. Both teams coming off of back-to-backs and we just said the first team to play defense wins.”
Indiana has held its last three opponents to under 100 points.
“It’s just about playing hard,” Turner said of the defensive effort. “I know I said that a lot, about playing hard, but that’s what it is. We started the game so lackadaisical and I think around halftime we kind of got a fire lit under us and just started to play so much better.”
Pacers coach Nate McMillan praised backup point guard Cory Joseph‘s role as sixth man following the game. Joseph contributed 11 points, eight assists and five rebounds.
“He’s been solid all season long,” McMillan said. “I love the way he plays the game. He plays every possession on both ends of the floor and has really been a glue for this team, as well as that second unit.”
For the Wizards, point guard John Wall’s status is questionable for Monday’s game after he left Saturday’s game in the third quarter. Wall didn’t practice on Sunday.
Wall, who was hampered with a bone spur in his left heel, scored a career-low one point. Wall missed all five shots.
Wall didn’t play in Wednesday night’s victory at Atlanta after the birth of his son. He didn’t take part in Saturday’s shootaround because he wasn’t feeling well and then was hampered by the bone spur.
“I really couldn’t move, couldn’t run. But I mean, you still got to play better,” Wall said to The Washington Post. “I probably shouldn’t have played, that’s my fault. But you learn from your mistakes.”
Wall called it the “worst game of my life.”
The heel has been bothering Wall on and off.
“Some days it’s great. Some days it’s bad,” Wall said. “It comes and goes. You know what I mean, you just got to monitor when it’s good and when it’s bad, don’t try to force the issue and play with that one because it’s kind of hard. You can’t run. (Saturday) it just got real hot. It didn’t get no better.”
The Wizards had won three games in a row before falling to the Cavaliers.
“It was definitely disappointing,” Wizards shooting guard Bradley Beal said to WashingtonWizards.com. “We didn’t come out with the same focus and intensity as the last three games that we won. We kind of took a step back a little bit.”
Washington coach Scott Brooks said he was disappointed his team’s mindset wasn’t right.
“We gave up everything they wanted. Give them credit. They attacked and got open shots in the paint. They got open 3s. When you give teams open opportunities, they are going to take advantage of it.”
Recently acquired forward Sam Dekker joined the Wizards for Sunday’s practice. Dekker has been sidelined with an ankle injury and considered questionable for Monday’s game.