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NBA India Games 2019

NBA India Games 2019: Top 10 moments/games from Indiana Pacers' 2018-19 season

Wesley Matthews, Victor Oladipo, and Domantas Sabonis
(NBA Getty Images)

Riding on their surprise success from the 2017-18 season, the Pacers were 32-15 in the 2018-19 season when they lost their All-Star Victor Oladipo to a ruptured quad tendon in his right knee.

Despite his value, the franchise's success wasn't only depended on Oladipo's presence on the floor.

Over the course of the remaining 35 regular-season games, the team rallied together, showed a lot of heart and fought hard. They went 16-19, ensuring the franchise reached the playoffs for the eighth time in the last nine seasons.

As has been for the better part of the past decade, the Pacers relied on their defence, one that was ranked third-best in the league this past season with a rating of 106.9.

MORE: History of the Pacers

Set to participate in the first-ever NBA India Games 2019, here's a quick glimpse at the Pacers' best moments and plays from last season

(Note: These ten moments are not ranked but are in chronological order):

Honorable mentions:

Poster dunks by the Pacers' big men - Myles Turner on Gordon Hayward in the playoffs and Domantas Sabonis on Philadelphia 76ers' superstar Joel Embiid.

Sabonis' career-high on perfect night

A huge reason for the team's success in the 2017-18 seasoon was the performance of their summer acquisitions - Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis.

While Oladipo stole the spotlight and received all the accolades including an All-Star selection, Sabonis proved to play a key and invaluable role in the their frontcourt.

On a Halloween night clash against the Knicks at the Madison Square Garden, Sabonis showed that his play from earlier was not a flash in the pan.

En route to a career-high 30 points in just 21 minutes off the bench, Sabonis went a perfect 12-of-12 from the field. He also finished with nine rebounds, three assists, and two blocks.

Darren Collison's game-winner seals comeback win

Off to an encouraging 5-3 start, the Pacers found it tough to put away the young Chicago Bulls, who were coming in having only won two of their eight games.

In fact, the Pacers were trailing by as many as 18 in the second quarter in their November 2nd clash against the divisional rivals.

They did get 25 points, 14 rebounds, and five assists from Oladipo but needed a late jumper from Darren Collison and a defensive possession to seal the deal.

Oladipo's game-winner vs. the Boston Celtics

After just about putting away the Bulls, the Pacers, on the second night of a back-to-back, had similar problems against the Boston Celtics.

This time too, the team's defence had a huge role to play in the winning play. It was off a turnover that Oladipo brought the ball up the floor and spotted up for the game-winning three over Al Horford.

In this nail-biting contest that included 10 ties and 18 lead changes, Oladipo finished with 24 points, 12 rebounds, three assists, and three steals.

MORE: Sacramento Kings' top 10 plays/games from the 2018-19 season

Thrilling OT victory vs. the Bulls

While the Pacers and the Bulls were on the opposite ends of the Eastern Conference standings, the divisional rivals had plenty of competitive contests.

Each of their four games were decided by single digits, including an overtime entertainer, on January 4th, that ended with an Oladipo dagger.

Down by 12 points at the end of the first quarter, this was yet another comeback win for the Pacers.

Sabonis finished with 23 points on 9-of-13 shooting in 31 minutes but Oladipo top-scored with 36 points on 14-of-28 shooting.

Oladipo suffers season-ending injury in win vs. the Raptors

Other than a 16-point blowout loss, the Pacers gave the Raptors a pretty handy fight in the remaining two games of their season series.

In their lone win against the subsequent NBA Champions, the Pacers lost Oladipo to his season-ending injury.

When Oladipo was carried off on a stretcher in the second quarter, the Pacers led 46-38.

However, the rest of the team remained focused, withstood all the runs made by the Kawhi Leonard-less Raptors to register a four-point win on an emotional night.

42-point win vs. LeBron James and the Lakers

In early February, the Pacers were set to tip-off a six-game homestand with a matchup against LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers.

Yes, the team was playing without key backcourt players in Lonzo Ball and Josh Hart but the rest of Lakers were healthy including James.

Yet, a Pacers squad without Oladipo blew them away by a season-high 42 points.

The Pacers had seven players in double figures, shot 56-of-98 (57.1%) from the field and 19-of-34 (55.9%) from beyond the arc while only committing 10 turnovers.

MORE: Pacers' roster for the NBA India Games

The hosts completely outplayed the visitors in every facet of the game.

Bogdanovic's 37-point performance in Minneapolis

The win against the Lakers wasn't a flash in the pan. Through the second half of the season, without Oladipo, they registered multiple such gritty wins where somebody on the roster stepped up and delivered.

As March came around, the business end of the season had arrived and the Pacers were hosting a young Minnesota Timberwolves squad.

In this contest, Bogdanovic rose to the occasion and erupted for a career-high 37 points to clinch a seven-point win.

Wesley Matthews' game-winner vs. the OKC Thunder (Mar. 15)

Hosting the formidable duo of Russell Westbrook and Paul George, the Pacers were down by as many as 18 in the third quarter against the Oklahoma City Thunder

However, the team wasn't about to give up. They rallied from that deficit and eventually clinched the game in nail-biting fashion - a game-winner courtesy of a Wesley Matthews.

The Pacers outscored the Thunder 27-18 in the final period and in production were led by Sabonis - 26 points, seven rebounds, four assists in 28 minutes off the bench.

36-point win vs. Denver Nuggets

One home game between six road games with a couple of days rest before and after has got it to be a gift right?

That's what it felt like as the Pacers eased past the young high-seeded Denver Nuggets. It could have been considered a schedule for the Western Conference team given that it was the finale of a four-game East Coast road trip but nobody could have guessed the margin of victory.

Bojan Bogdanovic scored 26 of his 35 points in the first half and watched the fourth quarter from the bench.

The Pacers shot 51-of-91 (56.0%) from the field while holding the Nuggets to just 33-of-93 (35.5%) on their field goal attempts.

Myles Turner's career-high 7-block night (Mar. 5)

As mentioned earlier, the Pacers' calling card all season, was their defence and it was not on the back of any one player but instead, a complete team effort.

Nonetheless, that didn't stop forward/center Myles Turner from grabbing the spotlight and leading the league in blocks per game last season at 2.6.

In a game against the Bulls, on Mar. 5, he recorded a career-high seven blocks along with his double-double of 10 points and 11 rebounds in another close contest with the division rivals.

For more updates and stories on the NBA India Games 2019, you can follow NBA.com's page dedicated to the historic event.

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