Published: Mon, April 16, 2018
Sport | By Cameron Gross

Dan Gilbert's comments weren't for Victor Oladipo after all


"You could say it added fuel to the fire". "But that was so long ago".

Oladipo added six rebounds, four assists and four steals in the victory. In fairness, many at the time would have agreed with the owner that the Pacers didn't get an impressive haul for George, particularly given that Oladipo, widely thought to be a solid but unspectacular combo guard, was in the first year of a four-year, $84 million contract extension. "Been playing hard on both ends all year".

In the first-person essay, Oladipo writes about the immediate aftermath of being traded to the Pacers and his excitement about the chance to get to play in IN again. It just hasn't been magnified.

Once the initial shock of the trade gave way to excitement, Victor fired off a text to his teammate Domantas Sabonis: "I promise, if you win here in IN, they'll embrace you like no other".

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James, who played 44 of the 48 total minutes, had 24 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds to lead the way for the Cavs, but went 7 of 17 from the floor and missed all four of his 3-point attempts. We're ready to make a run in these playoffs. We've been playing our butts off on both ends of the floor all year. We're fully aware of his team, and we realize it's not going to be easy, but that doesn't mean we're just going to come in here and just fold. That's why we came to this series.

That text has proven prescient for Oladipo, who just capped off the best regular season of his career averaging 23.1 points per game and making his first All-Star Game. That's what we're focused on: "taking it one game at a time, trying to win every game".

The most important factor for McMillan, though, was the "confidence" with which Oladipo played. "I thought he made good decisions out there on the floor", IN coach Nate McMillan said of his star guard. After the game, Oladipo was asked if his Game 1 performance and Gilbert's comment were connected, as reported by Dave McMenamin of ESPN. "I thought he recognized those and did a good job of attacking". But perhaps some comments from Cleveland owner Dan Gilbert has given him some extra motivation in this series. "Now, I'm sure our guys have heard that".

"I already had fuel", Oladipo told USA Today. But I haven't used that type of information as bulletin board material. "That has been the motivation from this group".

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