INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Victor Oladipo scored 18 points to lead the Indiana Pacers to a 108-89 victory over Maccabi Haifa on Tuesday night.
It was Oladipo’s first home game since being acquired in a summer trade from Oklahoma City, and the small crowd gave the former Indiana Hoosiers star a roaring ovation during introductions. He also gave the crowd plenty to cheer about — making three 3-pointers and scoring 13 points in the first quarter before giving the Pacers the push they needed to start pulling away in the third quarter.
Maccabi Haifa, last year’s Israeli Super League runner-up, was led by former NBA player Josh Smith with 16 points.
Pacers coach Nate McMillan used the Pacers’ preseason finale to fine-tune his lineups and rotations.
But after a strong start, the Pacers played poorly enough to watch a 23-point lead cut to three before Oladipo provided a spark midway through the third quarter. A steal and outlet pass to Myles Turner for a dunk started the decisive 16-3 run. When it ended the Pacers led 82-66 and Maccabi Haifa never got within single digits again.
Maccabi Haifa: Is 0-15 all-time against NBA teams. … The starting lineup included four players from American colleges — Will Graves (North Carolina), Brandon Bowman (Georgetown), Angel Rodriguez (Kansas State and Miami) and Willy Workman (Amherst). … Rodriguez had 15 points. Former NBA player Samardo Samuels had 14.
Pacers: Seven players scored in double figures including Darren Collison with 15 and Bojan Bogdanovic with 13. … Indiana finished the preseason 3-1, the only loss coming Sunday when McMillan rested his starters. … The Pacers played under their new theater-style lighting system.
DAMIEN, THE SEQUEL?
Damien Wilkins might be the most intriguing player on the Pacers’ roster.
The 37-year-old former Georgia star hasn’t played in the league since 2012-13 but may wind up on the Pacers 15-man roster after 9.3 points in a team-high 71 minutes heading into Tuesday night. He finished with three points in five minutes. Will it be enough?
“We brought him in because he had some experience and we wanted some veteran leadership,” McMillan said. “He’s done some good things and he’s done what we were looking for.”
Maccabi Haifa: Completes its four-game American tour Friday at Portland.
Pacers: Will have a week to prepare for next Wednesday’s season opener against Brooklyn.