Victor Oladipo has been in the NBA since 2013, but on Sunday afternoon, he announced how good he’s become to those who have been sleeping on him and the Indiana Pacers as a whole this season. Oladipo was outstanding in the team’s 98-80 Game 1 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers, going for 32 points, six rebounds, four assists, and four steals. In a game that featured LeBron James, Oladipo managed to be the best player on the floor.
It turns out the Pacers’ star might have had a little extra motivation to take down the Cavs, and it stems from comments the team’s owner, Dan Gilbert, made during the offseason. Gilbert said Indiana “could have done better than it did” after it received Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis in exchange for Paul George, which almost certainly stemmed from the fact that Cleveland really wanted to acquire the All-Star wing.
At the time, it looked like the Pacers didn’t get an especially solid return for George, but things have worked out great for Indiana. After Oladipo’s performance during Game 1 of the postseason, he acknowledged Gilbert’s comments added some motivation.
“You could say it added fuel to the fire, I guess you could say,” Oladipo said, according to Dave McMenamin of ESPN. “But that was so long ago. It came up recently, obviously, because we were playing the Cavs in the series, but I’m aware of what he said. Can’t control his opinion. All I’m focused on is myself and becoming the best Victor Oladipo possible.”
Oladipo is going to have to keep producing at the level he did during Game 1 for the Pacers to take down the Cavaliers. At the very least, Indiana fans can rest easy knowing that he’s motivated to stick it to Gilbert and put on a show.