Victor Oladipo: “We Sucked” In Pacers Loss To Celtics
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INDIANAPOLIS – Where has the defense gone for the Indiana Pacers?
Is it all because Myles Turner has missed 3 straight games with a sore right shoulder?
The defense was once again non-existent on Wednesday night, as the Celtics blew out the Pacers, 135-108, in Boston.
“We sucked,” Victor Oladipo said after the Pacers (27-14) allowed Boston to score a season-high 135 points. “There is no way around it. We just got to be better, honestly.
“They just beat us in every category. Everything you can imagine, they beat us in. Got to go back to the drawing board. They came in and dominated us. Credit them. They played well.”
Jayson Tatum got things started early for the Celtics and Indiana had no answer for the versatile forwards of Boston (28-15).
Tatum (20 points), Marcus Morris (22 points) and Jaylon Brown (22 points) led Boston’s big scoring night.
On most nights, the Celtics are not known as an imposing team in the paint, but they were definitely that on Wednesday.
The Celtics outscored the Pacers 56-to-40 in the paint, a clear indication that the Pacers are missing Turner.
The once vaunted Indiana defense has not been the same to start their longest road trip of the season.
“We just have to get back to defending the ball,” Thaddeus Young said after Wednesday’s loss. “The last five quarters we’ve played we’ve given up thirty plus points. We know we are better than that.
“Of course, we’re missing the anchor of our defense, but we’ve just got to continue to work.”
Domantas Sabonis led Indiana with 20 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists. Victor Oladipo added 17.
The Pacers will end their 5-game road trip on Friday in New York.
Three Pacers’ Takeaways:
-Defensive Struggles Continue: The numbers are not pretty over the last 3 games. The Pacers have allowed their opponents to put up halves of 70 points (Raptors), 72 (Cavs), 68 (Celtics) and 67 (Celtics). While the Raptors torched the Pacers from behind the arc, Wednesday’s defensive effort was more paint centric. The loss of Myles Turner has this defense really struggling right now. Even with Turner, the ability to defend Boston is difficult for the Pacers. They just don’t believe in switching, nor have the versatile wings necessary to defend a team that has so many options in the 6-8 to 6-9 department. In each of the last 4 games, the Pacers have allowed their opponent to shoot 50 percent from the floor, something we saw just twice from Indiana opponents in their first 37 contests.
-Foul Shooting Issues Still There: You could harp more on the defense, but the foul shooting is still bothersome for Indiana. They were 21-of-33 from the line on Wednesday night, good for a 63.6% shooting effort. The Celtics also scored 21 points from the foul line but did it in 9 fewer attempts. For a Pacers team that doesn’t use the three-point line like many teams in the NBA, they have to be more efficient from the foul line. Victor Oladipo was 2-of-6 on Wednesday. Oladipo is shooting a career-low 72.9 percent from the foul line this season, something you cannot have from your star who gets to the line more than any other player on your roster.
-Solid First Half: The mid-way point of the season is here for the Pacers and they have a more than respectable 27-14 record. They are on pace for a 54-win campaign, which would be a very nice regular season. While they played a pretty favorable schedule in the first half, they also had nearly double the wins with Victor Oladipo missing 11 games. To have Oladipo miss 11 games and still be on pace for 54 wins and in position for homecourt in the playoffs, it’s hard to say the first half of the season wasn’t a success for the Pacers.
Pacers Upcoming Schedule
-at Knicks (Friday, 1/11)
-Suns (Tuesday, 1/15)
-76ers (Thursday, 1/17)
-Mavericks (Saturday, 1/19)
-Hornets (Sunday, 1/20)