Victor Oladipo on his game-winning shot: ‘It’s stuff you dream about’

It wasn’t a buzzer-beater but it sure felt like more than a game-winning jumper.

With forward LaMarcus Alridge defending after Danny Green switched onto Domantas Sabonis, Victor Oladipo knew it was on him to take advantage of the switch and to get a shot off.

He went between his legs, two dribbles left, hop back, high follow-through … and in from around 27 feet out. That, in turn, pushed the Pacers (3-3) past the San Antonio Spurs (4-1) Sunday afternoon, 97-94.

“I like shooting at the end of the game,” he said afterwards. “It’s stuff you dream about. I’ve been dreaming about stuff like that since I was three.” [smiles]

The Pacers fought back from a nine-point deficit, their largest of the game, with 6:44 left in the game. From there, they outscored the Spurs — who were without starters Kawhi Leonard (quad) and Tony Parker (quad) — 24-12. Oladipo had 11 points by himself during that stretch.

With 30 seconds left to play, Spurs guard Danny Green committed their 18th turnover of the game. The Pacers used a timeout. Thad Young missed on the layup and the Pacers then capitalized off of an offensive rebound.

“It looked good, felt good,” Oladipo recalled. “I held it, it was a little deep, a little too deep. Honestly I really didn’t want to shoot it that far [out]. The move felt good and I just held my follow-through and watched the ball go through the rim.

“They did a great job of switching on the play that we tried to run. I felt like I had a little mismatch with LaMarcus [Aldridge] on me and I just made a move and shot the ball with confidence.”

“Big time, man,” point guard Darren Collison said of Oladipo’s shot. “He’s been showing confidence like that since the season started. He’s our guy. He’s done a phenomenal job at practice of leading us and leading us in games.”

Playing with confidence that has been with him in Indiana. Ever since the Hoosiers took a chance on him out of DeMatha High School (Maryland) in 2010. He didn’t feel appreciated in Orlando or Oklahoma City. He already has that with the Pacers, back in the state he refers to as his second home.

“It just feels amazing when somebody wants you, when people believe in you, believe in your talent, the hard work and are invested in you, it’s a blessing, man. It’s no other better feeling than that. I believe in myself but to have your teammates, your coaches, and a city believe in you too, it just makes every day that much sweeter.”

Oladipo scored 13 of his 23 points in the final frame to continue to streak of leading the Pacers in scoring each game this season. That’s despite dealing with foul trouble. On the court for 29:21, he was the only starter to play fewer than 33 minutes.

“He’s our leader,” Joe Young said. “He’s who we follow. Once he gets us going, even on the defensive end, that’s when everybody picks up the intensity. He’s a big part of the leadership role and he does a great job.”

Oladipo and Sabonis — great in his own right (22 points and 10 rebounds) while playing under the weather — combined to account for 22 of their 29 points in the fourth quarter.

Back to the shot, which went down with 10.1 seconds and then the Spurs called timeout. Oladipo celebrated the moment by proclaiming “This is my city.”

“It is,” he reiterated postgame during an on-court interview. “I truly believe that. Everything happens for a reason. I feel like I belong here, I’m supposed to be here for a reason. It was just fun, man. It was a great game.”

This state and this team provides Oladipo with exactly what it does for Lance Stephenson: Confidence. And it’s amazing what confidence in yourself and in each other can do. This group has been together for just five weeks now…

Oh, and the game ball? He gave that to Glenn Robinson III, who is sidelined with an ankle injury.

[Photo: Frank McGrath/PS&E]

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