On Sunday, April 15, the Cavs lost a tough one to the Indiana Pacers for their first game in the NBA Playoffs. It wasn’t a close one either with the Cavs losing by 18 points and only scoring 80. Luckily, it was only Game 1 and we still have a lot of basketball to play, so they will be fine. The Cavs could not make any of their shots and the Pacers could not miss their shots. The best performance came from Victor Oladipo who had 32 points, four assists, six rebounds and four steals. After the game, Oladipo credited his big performance and the whole season to Dan Gilbert’s comment over the summer.
Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert said Pacers “could have done better” in Paul George trade.
Victor Oladipo, after 32P/ 6R/4A in Game 1 win, on Gilbert’s words: “You could say he added fuel to the fire.” pic.twitter.com/6v5J36hLuE
— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) April 15, 2018
During this past offseason, the Pacers traded Paul George to the Thunder for Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis. After this trade, Gilbert commented on the trade saying, “I would say Indiana could have done better than they did.” The Cavs were trying to get George and had a three-way deal prepared with the Denver Nuggets that would include Kevin Love going to the Pacers. Obviously, this did not work out for the Cavs, so Gilbert made this comment after they missed out.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski, there is a different story behind Gilbert’s comment.
Indy largely agreed on Cavs-Nugs 3-way (GHarris/Lyles/Cavs FRP). Gilbert/George planned to get on call before Indy took OKC deal. Gilbert comments seemed to be on Indy bailing on deal, not Oladipo. Ironically, Gilbert wanted VO in 2013, but deferred to front office on A. Bennett. https://t.co/q2lqW0yxkW
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) April 16, 2018
In the 2013 draft, where the Cavs had the first overall pick, Gilbert wanted to draft Oladipo, but he was outvoted 9-1 by the front office to select Anthony Bennett. I haven’t always been the biggest fan of Gilbert, but man do I wish the front office would have listened to him.
George has been great for the Thunder, as expected, but the surprising part of the trade was the effect that Oladipo has had on the Pacers. Going into this season, the Pacers were expected to be a bad team looking to rebuild and miss the playoffs. Oladipo had a different outcome in mind after he led them to a five-seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs. He was chosen as an All-Star with 23.1 points, 5.2 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 2.4 steals per game. This is a huge upgrade after having a rough season the year before with the Thunder making him the favorite for Most Improved Player.
It sure would have been nice to have Oladipo the past few years or even to still have him today, but unfortunately, he is our biggest threat in the first round of the playoffs this year. Gilbert may be giving motivation to Oladipo, but he turns out to be a fan of his. The reason he feels the Pacers lost out in the trade was simply just because they didn’t trade with the Cavs, which is understanding seeing that he is the owner of the Cavs and George could have been huge for the team’s success and keeping LeBron around. For now, we have to deal with Oladipo, but I expect the first game to be a fluke and that the Cavs will be able to finish them off pretty easily.