Victor Oladipo has began his tenure with Indiana as a potent scoring machine and looks to continue the production when the Pacers host the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday. The former college star at nearby Indiana University was the main piece acquired from the Oklahoma City Thunder in the Paul George trade and is averaging 25.5 points through his first six games.
Oladipo scored more than 20 points in five of the six games and he capped Sunday’s 23-point effort with a game-winning 3-pointer to give Indiana a 97-94 win over the San Antonio Spurs. “Everything happens for a reason,” Oladipo told reporters of returning to the state as a pro player. “I feel I belong here. I‘m supposed to be here for a reason.” The 25-year-old Oladipo seeks his fifth straight 20-point outing when the Pacers tussle with a Sacramento squad that has dropped four straight games. The Kings are beginning a three-game trip that includes visits to Boston and Detroit after being walloped 110-83 at home by the Washington Wizards on Sunday.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, NBCSN California (Sacramento), FSN Indiana
ABOUT THE KINGS (1-5): Sacramento was largely uncompetitive against the Wizards and dug itself a 63-32 halftime deficit in the embarrassing home defeat. “We missed a lot of shots,” second-year forward Skal Labissiere told reporters afterward. “We shot some good shots, missed a lot, and games like that happen every once in a while. We’re just going to have to move on from it.” Point guard De‘Aaron Fox made his first career start and it didn’t go well as he had just two points on 1-of-8 shooting while the fifth overall pick is averaging 12.7 points and five assists.
ABOUT THE PACERS (3-3): Second-year forward Domantas Sabonis also was acquired in the George deal and he is making an impact by averaging 13 points and 10.2 rebounds. The 21-year-old was superb against the Spurs by scoring a career-high 22 points on 9-of-9 shooting and matched his career best of 12 rebounds for his fourth consecutive contest in double digits on the boards and he is emerging as a symbol for what the post-George Pacers stand by. “We’re just trying to do it by committee,” point guard Darren Collison told reporters. “We understand we have no All-Stars on this team. We have very good players on this team and if we have to do it by committee to win games, let’s do it. There are teams that do it that way, and don’t rely on one guy.”
1. The Pacers won last season’s two meetings by an average of five points after losing the previous four matchups.
2. Sacramento PG George Hill (9.8 points) and PF Zach Randolph (9.3 points, seven rebounds) will be back in the lineup after being rested Sunday.
3. Indiana C Myles Turner (concussion, neck) will miss his sixth consecutive game.
PREDICTION: Pacers 109, Kings 97