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INDIANAPOLIS – Last season, Victor Oladipo scoring 10 total points and being limited by injury in consecutive nights would lead to a pair of losses for the Pacers.

This season, the Pacers found a way to win both games.

Saturday night’s effort came with Oladipo leaving the game after just 4 minutes due to a knee injury.

But with a spark from rookie Aaron Holiday and another stout defensive performance, the Pacers (10-6) made sure they took care of the Hawks (3-13), in a 97-89 victory at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

Holiday was the surprise standout, as the rookie came off the bench to score 12 points, all in the second half, in his first meaningful action of the season.

“He’s been working hard all training camp and every day during the season to keep himself ready to go,” Nate McMillan said of the team’s first-round pick.

“It’s funny, I actually had a conversation with him (Saturday) and told him to just continue to work, not knowing Vic would be out…if any of our guards went down, he was going to be the next guy that we put out there. He was ready for it, he prepared himself. We don’t win this game if he doesn’t come in and play the way that he did on both ends of the floor.”

Oladipo was questionable for Saturday night with a right knee injury, but decided to give it a go after testing it out pregame.

A sluggish first half without their star led to McMillan turning to Holiday.

Bojan Bogdanovic once again stepped up, leading the Pacers with 22 points. Indiana had 7 guys in double figures and none were Oladipo or Domantas Sabonis (who did have 9 points, 16 rebounds and 6 assists).

The Hawks led by 14 points early in the third quarter, before the Pacers went on a huge run, with their defense delivering.

Indiana finished the game on a 50-28 run, holding the Hawks to just 33 second-half points on 30 percent shooting.

The Pacers are now 8-2 against the Eastern Conference this season.

 

Three Pacers’ Takeaways:

Aaron Holiday’s Spark: The first 15 games of Aaron Holiday’s NBA career went like it was expected to go. It was always going to be difficult for the Pacers to find minutes for Holiday, with veteran point guards set in the rotation (Darren Collison and Cory Joseph) and ball dominant shooting guards (Victor Oladipo and Tyreke Evans). Holiday had scored 5 points all season coming into Saturday, having yet to play a meaningful minute. But McMillan turned to him at a critical juncture, with Oladipo sidelined. Holiday responded with 12 points, including 3 three pointers. If the NBA handed out game balls, Holiday deserved one for his effort on Saturday.

Oladipo Injury Watch: The Pacers’ All-Star tried to give it a go on Saturday, but after taking an early fall on a drive to the basket Oladipo headed to the locker room for the rest of the night. Indiana is listing Oladipo at day-to-day on the same knee that caused him to miss 7 games last season. In those contests, the Pacers lost all 7, by an average of 14 points per game. What Saturday night showed is the Pacers can overcome a missing Oladipo and still get a win. Are the Hawks any good? No. But the Pacers weren’t winning these games last season.

Rebounding Shows Up: One positive from Saturday night came from the Pacers outrebounding the Hawks, 68-55. A plus 7 effort on the defensive glass is something that pleases Nate McMillan. In trying to establish a better pace, the Pacers know that controlling the defensive glass is necessary. Myles Turner recorded his first double-double of the season on Saturday (10 points and 11 rebounds) and Sabonis added 16 boards off the bench. Speaking of Turner, he connected on two three pointers against the Hawks, giving him three for the weekend, after he hit just two through the first 14 games of the year.

 

Pacers Upcoming Schedule

-Utah (Monday, 11/19)

-at Charlotte (Wednesday, 11/21)

-San Antonio (Friday, 11/23)

-at Utah (Monday, 11/26)

-at Phoenix (Tuesday, 11/27)