Last year, when the Pacers didn't have Victor Oladipo in the lineup, they had no chance: the Blue and Gold were 0-7 in their star's absence. This year was a completely different story, as Indiana won seven of eleven before Oladipo's return last night in a win over Milwaukee.
Myles Turner and Thaddeus Young led the way with a combined 48 points, but you could tell the Pacers got a boost from having their leader back out on the court. In fact, during Oladipo's postgame interview following the win, Turner had a broad proclamation for the rest of the East:
Entering today, the Pacers find themselves just a half-game back of Milwaukee and Philadelphia (who they play tomorrow) for the #2 seed in the East, and just four back of the East-leading Raptors. That's quite an amazing accomplishment considering that Oladipo has missed almost 40% of the season.
We already know that the Pacers can be contenders, but it looks like people nationally are finally starting to take notice: