Indiana Pacers of America youngster, Victor Oladipo finally turned out for his team in the restart of USA’s National Basketball Association (NBA) action at the weekend, megasportsarena.com reports.
In contrast with widespread doubt and controversy trailing him ahead of the restart at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, USA, Oladipo eventually shook off all lethargy to line out for his side.
That put an end to speculation heralding The Pacers’ outing in The Bubble, where initial feelers indicated that Oladipo might eventually opt out of featuring in their games, due to his worries over a possible relapse of an injury that ruled him out for the whole of 2019.
Oladipo was in the thick of things a day after James Harden hit in 49 points on 20 shots, but it was The Pacers’ forward, T.J. Warren who stole the show, as he enacted a 53-point performance in their 127-121 win over Philadelphia 76ers.
Warren finished 20-of-29 from the field (9-of-12 from 3-point range) with four rebounds, three assists and just one turnover, of which his best bucket might have been his last, with a contested 3-point dagger to put The Sixers away.
Nigerian-born Oladipo finished with 15 points (6-of-14 from the field), seven rebounds and two assists in what should have been a winnable game for Philadelphia, a result that breaks a tie between the 40-26 Pacers and 39-27 Sixers for the fifth seed in the NBA’s Eastern Conference.
Oladipo initially said he planned to opt out of ‘The Bubble’ to continue rehabilitating, but he later turned up with his teammates to practice on July 13 and the two-time NBA All-Star – who had already averaged 13.8 points, 3.2 rebounds and three assists while shooting 39.1 percent from the floor before the forced break – added a big boost to Indiana’s lineup.
Oladipo’s status for bubble play had been shaky since the NBA announced plans to resume play amid the COVID-19 pandemic, as the Cupid-faced lad only returned for 13 games before the lockdown, after recovering from a ruptured quad tendon suffered 36 games into last season, but Pacers’ coach, Nate McMillan declared: “He’s playing and ready to go.”