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CLEVELAND, OH - APRIL 15: Victor Oladipo #4 of the Indiana Pacers reacts to a fourth quarter three point basket while playing the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game One of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2018 NBA Playoffs at Quicken Loans Arena on April 15, 2018 in Cleveland, Ohio. Indiana won the game 98-80 to take a 1-0 series lead. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Victor Oladipo scored 32 points in the Indiana Pacers‘ 98-80 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday, a situation that may have been avoided if not for a few roster moves.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN provided a breakdown:

Oladipo could have been a Cavalier and helping Cleveland in the playoffs, or at least still in the Western Conference, but is now the team’s biggest adversary in the first round of the 2018 postseason.

Jason Lloyd of The Athletic previously discussed the 2013 draft from the Cavs’ perspective, noting Oladipo was a favorite of Cavs owner Dan Gilbert, but the front office voted 9-1 to draft Anthony Bennett No. 1 overall. Then-general manager Chris Grant was the holdout who wanted Ben McLemore.

Bennett only lasted one season with Cleveland before being traded to Minnesota, and he is already out of the league after four years. Meanwhile, Oladipo is in the midst of a breakout in his fifth season, earning his first All-Star selection while averaging 23.1 points, 5.2 rebounds and a league-best 2.4 steals per game.

He was the key part of the deal that sent Paul George to the Oklahoma City Thunder, which Gilbert ironically questioned after he was unable to come to an agreement with the Pacers.

“I would say Indiana could have done better than they did,” Gilbert said in July, per Chris Haynes of

Oladipo said after Game 1 that he used these words as motivation for his huge year.

“You could say it fueled the fire,” he said Sunday, per Tom Withers of the Associated Press.

After all of the roster drama, what is left is a surprisingly tough Pacers team that is now up 1-0 on the favored Cavaliers heading into Wednesday’s Game 2.

Bleacher Report – Front Page

Syrian Kabuki
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