INDIANAPOLIS – A week away from playing in his first NBA All-Star Game, Victor Oladipo put on one last show for fans at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Sunday.
Oladipo was sensational once again – scoring 30 points, dishing out nine assists, grabbing eight rebounds and collecting six steals. His performance drove the Indiana Pacers (32-25) to a 121-113 win over the New York Knicks (23-34), putting Indy seven games over .500 for the first time this season.
To start Sunday’s contest, each side shot the ball well. New York emerged with the lead after one, 37-36.
The Blue and Gold eventually started turn the corner in the second period, however. A 9-0 run helped put the home team in front, but the Knicks later responded with an 8-0 run to even the score at 53 with five minutes to go in the half. The Pacers regained control of things for the rest of the second, though. A 360 dunk from Oladipo served as the highlight of that stretch, if not the game, as Indy led 68-62 at intermission.
Quarter number three is where Indiana put their stamp on Sunday’s game. The Pacers started the third on a 22-8 run, putting the Knicks in a hole they would not be able to escape from. New York fell behind by as many as 20 points in the frame, but they never allowed Indy to feel too comfortable. The Knicks closed the gap down to ten by the end of three and kept hanging around in the final period.
A Kyle O’Quinn three-pointer with 8:37 remaining pulled the visitors within seven, but the Pacers would ultimately get separation again. Lance Stephenson led the charge on a 9-2 run around the seven minute mark, giving Indiana the breathing room they needed to secure the victory.
Oladipo had plenty of backup on this night. Thaddeus Young recorded a double-double with 18 points and 11 rebounds. Bojan Bogdanovic turned in another good shooting game with 20 points with four triples made. Stephenson and Joe Young each scored in double figures off of the bench, with 15 and 11 respectively.
As for New York, they were without star forward Kristaps Porzingis, who suffered a season-ending ACL tear on Feb. 6. Porzingis, or his absence, played a big role in all three Pacers/Knicks games this season.
Porzingis did not play in either matchup in Indianapolis and the Pacers took advantage, winning each game. Indiana dominated on Dec. 4, cruising to a 18-point win. The one game Porzingis did play in, Nov. 5 in New York City, he led the Knicks to a comeback victory by finishing with 40 points and eight boards
Indy’s final game before the All-Star break comes on Wednesday with a date with the Nets in Brooklyn. Tip from Barclays Center is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.